Take Two Academy's student body shrinks amid Oklahoma teacher shortage

Michael D. Smith
The Daily Ardmoreite
The Take Two Academy campus Wednesday, Aug, 18, 2021. Coupled with the resignation of the school's director in July, school officials are struggling to fill open teaching positions.

Take Two Academy is preparing for a new school year but with a much smaller student body and staff than in years past. A statewide teacher shortage and the resignation of the school’s director over the summer left district officials scrambling to prepare for the new academic year. 

"With the late resignation of our director and really having an extremly difficult time trying to hire staff, we were in a little bit of a panic about Take Two but we buckled down” said Jill Day, Assistant Superintendent for Ardmore City Schools. 

The ACS Board of Education in July accepted the resignation of Take Two Director Lori Bell, who held the position since 2012. Day told the board on Tuesday that teacher Steven Ross will serve as the Take Two assistant principal with Bell providing consulting support to staff. 

“That probably added about 10 years to my life because she definitely is an expert in Take Two. She was very generous, we are very thankful for her doing this and we appreciate her,” Day said of Bell. 

Take Two Academy assists high school students from Ardmore and five area school districts who may be missing credits needed to graduate high school. Nearly 40 graduates walked across the stage to receive diplomas in 2017, one of the largest classes in the school's history. 

Day said about 20 students will be returning to Take Two this year, which is about 10 to 15 fewer than last year. Classes for those students begin on Monday. 

“We feel like probably this year our numbers will remain low due to not being able to replace our full staff there,” Day told board members. 

School officials will continue to post job openings for teachers and a new director but Day admits that the field of candidates will likely be slim until next spring.