• State Superintendent of Public Instruction visits COJC

    From OJA Twitter account: @ok_oja

    Enjoyed having @joy4ok visit our charter school in Tecumseh. Strong teachers and staff are making an impact.

    Talking with Principal Brad Buxton
    Talking with principal Brad Buxton

    *More information on the visit will be posted at a later date.

  • Improving Safety Across the Facilities

    Posted by Kim Godfrey
    August 11, 2016

    More from this author  |  Website 

    Performance-based Standards (PbS) is proud to announce Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center (COJC) as the winner of the 2016 Barbara Allen-Hagen Award for Correction facilities.

    Barbara Allen-Hagen Award

    In 2011, COJC was in crises: youths were in charge, there were at least two injuries to youths daily, five times more than the PbS field average, there was an escape and a riot. Staff morale was low, fear was high. A new leadership team was brought in and over the past five years, they worked tirelessly to change policies, practices and the facility culture from a correctional control and punishment behavior management approach to treating all youths in custody like one of their own. They developed a PbS Facility Improvement Plan to establish facility-wide safety for youths and staff by reducing injuries and restraints. All while facing the challenges posed by COJC’s more than 100-year-old campus and an increasingly complex group of youths.

    In 2016, COJC was selected as the PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award Winner for Correction facilities because the team’s efforts paid off and the culture changed. Injuries to youths were cut by two-thirds and injuries to staff dropped from the all-time high of 15 in April 2013 to one in April 2016, below the field average. Physical and mechanical restraint use has been steadily reducing and has been at or below the PbS field average for the past two years and their commitment to eliminate the use of chemical restraints shows because it has not been used for the past three data collections.

    COJC is a campus-style facility built nearly 100 years ago as a facility for orphans and transitioned to Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA) in 1995. It serves up to 72 young men ages 14-19 years old with a staff of 153. The youths stay an average of 421 days or about 14 months and come from across Oklahoma. It is located less than one hour from Oklahoma City on 30 acres on the outskirts of the small town of Tecumseh.

    COJC’s success was realized by the leadership and dedication of COJC staff and the development of several innovative approaches to create positive, healthy staff-youth relationships and proactively identify and intervene before trouble begins. They refused to give up on culture change and continually developed new ways to work with the youths. For example, COJC created Halt Aggression Learning Opportunity (HALO), which designates specific staff members each shift to float around the campus and as needed, pull a youth out of a problematic situation as soon as it was recognized by either the direct care staff or the youth and devote one-on-one time with the youth until he was ready to return. Similarly,  COJC established the practice of “walk and talk” as the first response to youths who do act out rather than automatically using restraints to bring a youth into compliance. It took new and expanded staff training and replacing staff who did not buy in to the treatment approach with those who did.

    COJC also enhanced its daily programming to keep the youths busy. Youths participate in music, art and visual therapies, on-site and off-site camping experiences, connections to colleges for those having completed their high school work and employment at local businesses for those having achieved Leadership status, the highest of the facility’s behavior management phase system. Youths work at nearby hardware stores, senior centers and employment bureau.

    PbS State Coordinator Carol Miller explained: “Buy-in from every level of facility staff was critical to ongoing success and highlighted that communication is the foundation of safety.”

    For more information about Council on Juvenile Corrections Administrators (CJCA) and Performance-based Standards:


  • A blueprint for a new start

    TECUMSEH — The robotic whir of a 3-D printer was nearly overwhelmed by the chatter of students, teachers and parents in a classroom Saturday at one of the state's juvenile detention centers. 

    It was the first open house at the Oklahoma Youth Academy charter school's Tecumseh location. Families were invited to tour the school as part of regular visitation. 

    In the STEAM classroom, the 3-D printer was busy constructing a decorative vase, bit by tiny bit. Teens were eager to show it off, and the $1,500 piece of technology was an example of how the charter school has improved the educational opportunities for the troubled teens.
    Oklahoma Youth Academy opened in July in two facilities: Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center in Tecumseh and Southwest Oklahoma Juvenile Center in Manitou. The state Board of Education sponsors the school, which is operated by the Office of Juvenile Affairs.  

    The state previously contracted with local school districts to provide classroom instruction to the youths. Opening the charter school allows the agency to better coordinate rehabilitation therapy with academic instruction, agency officials said.

    A major piece of the charter school is upgraded technology. Each student is issued a Chromebook computer, said Principal Bradley Buxton.

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Sidebar Info

Meet Terry Smith - Deputy Director of Residential Services Support

     Terry Smith

Terry Smith began his career working with children, youth and families over 30 years ago.  Mr. Smith brings a broad range of experience in social services.  He has served as a Juvenile Justice Specialist, District Supervisor, Deputy Director and Training Director for the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs. He also managed the State and Federal grants department and developed Medicaid funding systems for youth in the juvenile justice system.  He has worked in the private sector for non-profit and for-profit children’s agencies who serve both children who have been abused/neglected and youth who have committed crimes.  He has extensive experience in community development and establishing organizational infrastructures to better serve the children, youth and families of Oklahoma.  In addition, Mr. Smith has had the opportunity to work for the Chickasaw Nation as the Director of the Family Resource Center, where he developed behavioral health programs and services for Chickasaw children and families.  Mr. Smith was also a key leader in the development of the Oklahoma Transformation State Plan established by the Innovation Center of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.  Before returning to the Office of Juvenile Affairs in July of 2016, Mr. Smith served as the President/CEO of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. Mr. Smith holds a Bachelors Degree in Sociology from the University of Central Oklahoma and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma. 


School Calendar

Click on the image below to download a PDF version of our calendar!

Meet the Principal

Bradley Buxton has worked with youth in various capacities for the past 18 years. He began his professional career with the Oklahoma County Juvenile Bureau as a Detention Officer while finishing his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Oklahoma. He worked at the Juvenile Bureau for nine years in different roles, including Detention Supervisor and Juvenile Probation Officer. In 2006, Mr. Buxton received his teaching certificate and spent the next seven years working in Edmond and Mustang Public Schools teaching alternative education and social studies, while coaching middle school football, track, and wrestling. In 2012, he earned his Master’s Degree in Education Administration from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, and in 2013 he accepted an Assistant Principal position at Jefferson Middle School in Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS). He was part of a new administration team that implemented innovative strategies for raising academic and behavioral expectations at Jefferson. He served as a leader of several pilot projects while at Jefferson, including Chromebook adoption and school-wide implementation of professional learning communities. While at OKCPS, he was selected as the School Site Administrator for the Teach for America (TFA) Summer Institute, a partnership between TFA and OKCPS to provide a five-week summer remediation program for middle and high school students and a professional development opportunity for incoming TFA Corps Members.

In 2015, Mr. Buxton was selected as Principal of the Oklahoma Youth Academy Charter School (OYACS) at the Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center, and the school opened on July 13, 2015. He is committed to continuously improving the educational opportunities for OYACS students through a focus on college and career readiness and integration of instructional technology.

Mr. Buxton enjoys spending time discussing educational issues and trends with his wife, an educator in the OKCPS district. Their weekends typically involve supporting their three children in pursuing their activities, ranging from art to musical theatre to softball. In his spare time, he enjoys hunting and other outdoor activities.

Documents or Messages


Documents or Messages


Documents or Messages


OKC Youth Academy