Dakota Adventist Academy’s new principal, Anthony Oucharek, comes to the Dakotas from Orlando, Florida. Oucharek is acquainted with the cold, though, as he was raised on the Canadian prairies only 4 1/2 hours north of Bismarck, North Dakota.
Oucharek graduated from Canadian Union College (now Burman University) in Alberta, Canada, and taught school in Winnipeg, Manitoba, after serving for a year in a mission position in Helderberg College in South Africa. He served as principal in Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Pasco, Washington, and as STEM Project Manager at Washington State University before moving to Orlando, Florida, where he was principal of an elementary school.
Oucharek says he believes we need to provide quality academics in our Adventist schools. “It is what I received from my Adventist education, and it is the one constant we should be able to provide to as many or as few as want it,” he explains. He says he is intrigued by what DAA provides for students: shop classes, horses, the acrosports program, and more.
His new position will not come without challenges, though. “Perhaps the biggest challenge will be to serve a constituency that covers such a vast area,” he says. “In the past, I have made a point of visiting every student’s home. That could be a challenge.”
Oucharek says that his education made a great impact on his life. “Though I do not remember it, I was in the third grade before I really learned to read,” explains Oucharek. “I had a great memory, and I would recite stories so it was believed I was doing fine.” His second grade teacher caught him, though, and implemented several interventions, all of which Oucharek eluded. “He finally outsmarted me,” says Oucharek. “All of my books were painstakingly rewritten without pictures, page numbers, and in no particular order so as to make absolutely no sense.” This forced Oucharek to sound out the words rather than memorize the stories. “Now, I am so grateful,” says Oucharek. “How different my life would have been had he not persevered, had he not been a master of his craft, had he not seen me as worth the investment.”
Oucharek concludes, “I want to do the right thing for each student because it is the right thing for that student, not because someone might take notice of me or even because the time is right, but only because it is the right thing to do.”
Anthony and his wife Doreen have three children, Quisto, Quinell, and Quijuana. They also have one grandson, Koa.