The Edmond Sun
On Monday morning, Frank Wang, Ph.D., new president of the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, welcomed students and shook their hands outside the Manning Academic Center during the first day of school. Wang succeeds the founding president Dr. Edna Manning, who retired recently.
Wang’s path to OSSM has been an unusual one. As a child growing up in New York, he was diagnosed as having an impairment based upon tests that revealed “minimal suggestive neurological signs.” However, Wang defied the experts who told his parents that he did not have academic potential by eventually earning a doctorate in pure math from MIT.
When his parents moved to Oklahoma in 1980, Wang was a 16-year-old student at Norman High School. There he met retired Air Force test pilot and West Point graduate John Saxon. Saxon taught at a junior college and was seeking student help in writing a manuscript for an algebra textbook.
Saxon could not find a publisher for his book and as a result founded Saxon Publishers Inc., a textbook publishing company in Oklahoma. He tapped Wang to run the daily operations of the company after Wang received his Ph.D. in 1991. Saxon passed away in 1996, but Wang continued growing the company into a major publisher with 250 employees and annual sales approaching $100 million.
In 2003, Wang stepped down from his position as chairman of Saxon Publishers to pursue his lifelong passion and desire to teach, and approached Manning about teaching at OSSM. Though she welcomed Wang, she also told him that there were no available funds to pay him, so he taught for free. After teaching three years, Wang moved to Dallas, Texas, to start his own educational consulting company. When Manning decided to retire as president of OSSM, she approached Wang about applying for the position. He did and in August, Wang officially became only the second president in the school’s 22-year history.
The Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics is a two-year public residential high school created and funded by the Oklahoma legislature. The school is open to all students across the state who wish to apply during their sophomore year. Room and board are provided by the state.