After 38 years in education, Take Two Academy Director James Meece has decided to retire.


After 38 years in education, Take Two Academy Director James Meece has decided to retire.

 

“The biggest deal is looking at the number of kids who have grown here,” Meece said. “Over 450 kids, who most people said wouldn’t graduate, have graduated and are now in college, in the military or working.”

 

Meece began his career in Elk City, then became Ardmore High School principal in 1989. While at AHS, he noticed students who struggled to succeed and were dropping out.

 

“They weren’t all bad kids, they just couldn’t function in the regular classroom,” Meece said.

 

He helped with the grant application that would lead to the founding of Take Two Academy. In 2001, he became the academy’s director.

 

“The students are so tenderhearted once you get through that first layer,” Meece said. “You just have to have thick skin to get there.”

 

Meece considers his older brother Cliff, who died in December, to be his hero.

 

He cites this advice as inspiration — “When you are gone, it won’t matter how much money you made or what car you drove. The world will remember you by the lives you have changed.”

 

“Take Two may not be the grandest program in the world, but it has touched the lives of a lot of kids and has made a difference,” Meece said.

 

Meece has no particular retirement plans in mind, although he looks forward to having the time to play more golf and to fish.

 

He will be staying in Ardmore, to be near his two granddaughters.

 

“Family is big to us,” he said.

 

However, he knows he will miss his Take Two family.

 

“I’ve always been very fortunate. Take Two has the best staff in the district and the best kids in the district,” Meece said. “It’s a fun job working with everyone with the same goal in mind — to take care of kids.”