The state of education is in a precarious position in Oklahoma these days, but Claremore Public Schools’ situation looks promising, with new superintendent Bryan Frazier at the helm.
Frazier comes to Claremore with 24 years of education experience under his belt. Originally from Tulsa, Frazier graduated from East Central and attended college as a baseball player at Murray State. He transferred to Oklahoma State University, where he received his degree in accounting.
“I knew in my heart all along that I wanted to be a teacher,” said Frazier. “But at the time, I thought focusing on accounting and finance would be a better move for me, financially.”
After eight years in the business world, he headed back to school for his education degree. The dual degrees have helped him because education “is absolutely a business, especially in administration.” Two years later, he took a job as a science teacher and varsity football/baseball coach in Broken Arrow, positions he held for 13 years. He moved into administration at BA, first as an assistant principal, then principal, before transferring to Bixby as a principal. A few years later, he was promoted to associate superintendent at Bixby.
Frazier said, “When you’re in education, you think you’re finally ready to take the leap into administration. Then you realize you weren’t ever really ready. It’s like waiting until you’re ready to have kids.”
In his Bixby role, he replaced one of the associate superintendents, and the other retired shortly after. Thus, he was doing the work of two people, and he said it was the best trial by fire situation and a tremendous learning situation.
In 2016, a few different people called Frazier and mentioned that the Claremore superintendent was planning to retire. After being selected for the candidate pool by the Oklahoma State School Board Association, he went through the interview process with the Claremore Board of Education and was officially hired in January 2017. He feels comfortable in Claremore because it’s similar in size to what he’s used to, and he likes the community and the caliber of folks involved with the school district that he’s met.
Frazier and his wife of 35 years, Leslie, who is a principal at Coweta, are looking forward to moving to Claremore. Their kids, Vanessa and Luke, have families of their own and live in Texas and Kentucky. While Frazier and Leslie love spending time with their children and their two grandkids, Mac and Frazier, they’re excited about the next chapter of their lives. Bryan enjoys sports; he’s an avid fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Green Bay Packers. He also is a foodie, and loves to cook and watch cooking shows. Another favorite pastime is woodworking. But now, at the start of a brand-new school year, his focus is on the job.
His plans for this first year? “To listen more, and talk less. Claremore is a great district and it’s in a good place. My goal is to meet face-to-face with every teacher in the district and find out what their needs are, as well as the needs of the school board and community.”
Teacher pay is at the top of Frazier’s list. It’s difficult to retain quality teachers with the political climate such as it is. “Our talent is leaving. I want the teachers to know they’re important and that their needs are important.”
If you see Bryan Frazier out and about, be sure to welcome him to town. He’s truly happy to be here and he’s a delight to talk with. It’s easy to see that he truly cares about the future of education in Claremore and across the state.
Welcome to Claremore, Bryan and Leslie! It’s a great day to be a Zebra!
-MCM Staffer Ashley,
who is equal parts
Mustang and Zebra