Robert K. McIntosh. In the forwarding of its educational interests the State of Oklahoma has been fortunate in gaining the executive and pedagogic co-operation of many men and women of exceptional ability and unbounded enthusiasm, and such an one is the present incumbent of the office of superintendent of schools for Bryan County, he whose name initiates this paragraph. The greatest need for the advancement of educational standards in this county exists in connection with the rural schools. This is the result of the meager facilities afforded prior to the admission of the state to the Union and of the contemporary difficulty in obtaining by equitable taxation the requisite funds to push forward the work under the state regime. Under act of Congress, based on an Indian treaty, most of the lands of the county remaining in the possession of Indians will not be subject to taxation for a number of years. This condition has retarded the development of rural schools but it has not prevented the building of modern and measurably well equipped schoolhouses. Since the admission of Oklahoma to statehood the entire scheme of education within the commonwealth has called for the utmost devotion and loyal service of those engaged in or assigned to the directing and control of educational interests in the state. The foundation has been admirably laid in Bryan County and it is now the purpose of Superintendent McIntosh to devote the major part of his time and thought to the development and upbuilding of the system of rural schools, with careful consideration of expediency in every movement and of the ways and means best applicable in attaining to the desired results. In this commendable work’ he has the influence and direct co-operation of the Southeastern Oklahoma State Normal School, which is established at Durant, the judicial center of the county and his official headquarters and place of residence. He has the further earnest co-operation of a body of teachers who, as a whole, represent a notably higher grade of competency than did those of earlier years. He has the assistance also of district boards of education that arc appreciative of requirements and that are demanding teachers of higher rank and of higher grades of certificate. Superintendent McIntosh himself has had ample experience as a teacher in rural schools and thus has learned at first hand their greatest needs. In addition to this his experience has included effective service in village schools and two years as assistant county superintendent of schools. He believes that the most vital and insistent needs of efficient rural schools are a better grouping of classes, so that more time may be given to recitations, and the raising of the standard of the instructors employed. In short, definite and circumspect organization work is demanded and a careful employment of available means in the providing of the best possible facilities under existing conditions in the various school districts or precincts. In the furtherance of the work an adjunct organization whose influence is of important and benignant order is the Bryan County Teachers’ Association, of which H. B. Deaton, principal of the schools at Achille, is president, and Principal Zora James, of Platter, as secretary. The educational phase of the activities of the Bryan County Fair Association, which involves contests on the part of pupils of the public schools, constitutes another fortuitous element in the local field of popular education. The organization of oratorical, debating, literary, spelling and athletic associations and the building of good roads likewise are exercising commendable influence in the development of the rural education system in the county. The Oklahoma Presbyterian College, at Durant, and the Indian school maintained by the Government in Bryan County are contributing much to educational advancement. In this section of the state this subject of educational facilities and advancement is one of special interest, for under many years of tribal government the quality of ignorance was in preponderance in the citizenship of the now ambitious and progressive County of Bryan. The work today and the great possibilities for the future prove an inspiration to such progressive leaders as Superintendent McIntosh, and in’ the most emphatic sense he has proved himself to be “the right man in the right place.” As county superintendent he has under his supervision seventy-three school districts, within which are included two cities and eight towns; 150 teachers and 13,177 students as shown by the enrollment record for 1915.
Mr. McIntosh was born at Buena Vista, Chickasaw County, Mississippi, on the 17th of April, 1884, and is a son of Robert K. and Mary Bell (Boone) McIntosh, the former of whom is deceased and the latter of whom still resides in Mississippi, she being a lineal descendant of the historic frontiersman and patriot, Daniel Boone.
The early education of Mr. McIntosh was acquired in the schools of his native state, and after availing himself of the advantages of the high school at Houston he attended for two years the Mississippi Normal College. For three years thereafter he was a student in the Mississippi Agricultural &Mechanical College, in which institution he specialized in textile engineering, and within the period of his residence in Oklahoma he had further prosecuted his studies in the Southeastern Normal School, at Durant. Mr. McIntosh came to Oklahoma within a short time after the admission of the state to the Union, and in view of his present prominence in the educational affairs of Bryan County it is specially interesting to record that here he began teaching in 1908, his first school being that in District No. 41, near Bennington, where he taught in an open church during; the winter terms and under a brush arbor in summer. He there remained two years, and for two years thereafter he served with marked efficiency as assistant county superintendent of schools, under the administrations of H. C. King and C. L. Neeley. After his retirement from this position he taught three terms in the village schools of Bennington, and in the autumn of 1914 he was elected county superintendent of schools, the duties of which office he assumed on the 1st of July. 1915. He is an influential and valued member of the Bryan County Teachers’ Association and is identified actively with the Oklahoma State Teachers’ Association. As an educator and public-spirited and progressive citizen he is specially interested in the advancement of agriculture and the teaching of its science as an important adjunct in connection with the work of the rural schools. His political allegiance is given to the democratic party, he and his wife hold membership in the Methodist Church, and he is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity.
Mr. McIntosh has four brothers and two sisters, concerning whom the following data are consistently entered at this juncture: James T. is a representative lawyer of Bryan County and is engaged in practice at Durant, the county seat, besides which he is serving in 1915 as a member of the Oklahoma State Senate; Mrs. Kittie Foster resides near Houston, Chickasaw county. Mississippi, where her husband is a prosperous agriculturist: Murdock is engaged in the wholesale furniture business at Alexandria, Louisiana; William E. is a pharmacist at Caddo, Oklahoma; Albert E. resides at Houston, Mississippi, and is an electrician by vocation; Lorena is the wife of John R. Priest, M. D., who is engaged in the practice of his profession at Van Vleet, Mississippi.
On the 4th of August, 1912, was solemnized the marriage of Superintendent McIntosh to Miss Dora Crudup, of Durant, who is a graduate of the Southeastern State Normal School and who was associated with her husband as a teacher during the first year after their marriage. They have one child, Robert K., Jr.