Patrons weigh in on Tonganoxie superintendent search process during stakeholder meeting
Tonganoxie USD 464’s next superintendent should have a good relationship with faculty and staff and be heavily involved in the community.
The new top administrator should also be a team player and trustworthy.
Those were some of the qualities patrons said were important for a new superintendent to be successful. Roughly people attended the stakeholder meeting Thursday at the Chieftain Room on the Tonganoxie High School east campus.
Chris Christman and Destry Brown, who work on behalf of McPherson and Jacobson, facilitated the discussion. Christman also is a professor at Pittsburg State University, while Brown is superintendent at Pittsburg USD 250.
Christman and Brown also met with 12 Tonganoxie High School students who gave feedback about the district and the superintendent position. Christman said THS administrators picked a cross-section of students in various activities from all four grade levels.
Faculty members and classified staff also met with the two representatives of McPherson and Jacobson, the district’s firm for the superintendent search.
Patrons also spoke about Tonganoxie’s strengths, from the community’s ideal location as a smaller town close enough to larger communities to the ability for students to be involved in a variety of organizations. Patrons also spoke highly of the district’s teachers.
“The best about Tonganoxie schools, No. 1 is teachers,” Christman said, referring to feedback he received from those interviewed last week. “We don’t hear that in every district we go to.”
And, Christman spoke highly of the students they interviewed.
“If the students we visited with, freshmen through senior, if they’re representative of all of your kids, you ought to be very proud,” Christman said.
Patrons said the next superintendent, to be successful, should be a motivational manager and should work together with the school board, which currently has been split on a number of issues.
Christman and Brown noted that the search is open nationwide and their firm would continue to gather online surveys through the district’s website. They encouraged patrons to fill out the survey, which is open until Tuesday.
Brown said he has been the Pittsburg superintendent for seven years. He came from much smaller district in Frontenac.
With Tonganoxie seeing its share of turnover in recent years, patrons asked how Brown has stayed on board for that long in Pittsburg.
He spoke of his philosophy, including not making any major changes in the first year. And his belief in connecting with each of the district’s employees. He calls each one on that person’s birthday.
“It’s not my vision,” Brown said about how he addresses his staff and the community. “It’s your vision. It’s what you want, not what I want.”
The school board is expected to make a decision next month on the new superintendent.
The position became vacant when current superintendent Lyn Rantz announced she was taking an administrative position at Topeka Collegiate.