Dear Board of Education Members, USD Staff, and Community:
It is with equal parts of sadness and jubilation that I announce my
retirement from the Manhattan/Ogden School District on July 1. The past
50 years I have been going to school every year. That will come to an end this fall. Starting 34 years ago as a student teacher of Algebra at
Manhattan High, on to 7th Grade Mathematics at the Junior High, and finally ending this year as Superintendent, it has been an exciting,
challenging and rewarding adventure.
My greatest blessing has been the children and staff I have been so
fortunate to work with over these past 34 years. I began my teaching
career alongside the greatest teacher I have ever known, Mr. Frank "Pop" Garrett. It was his last year of teaching and my first. He taught me
that I could teach all children, no matter how difficult, and that all children could learn. Last week I had the chance to teach again, this time
with 1st graders. It is still that bright light of learning in each child’s eyes that has made my commitment to education worth it every single
As I reflect on accomplishments over the past 30 years, it warms my
heart to realize that no individual is able to change an organization.
Instead, it is by participating and working as a team that great things are done. I am so very fortunate to have been a part of so many
remarkable teams who have accomplished outstanding things over the years. In particular, I am proud of my part in the team efforts for at risk
students: the grant that began the Continuation School, the starting of the computerized alternative program, ORACLE at MHS, and the
Kansas Legislative funding work and program design to start our High School program at the Flint Hills Job Corps. I have also had the
opportunity to be part of every bond issue campaign committee and building design group over my career. We have wonderful new
buildings that will serve our children for decades to come and we have invested in maintaining our older buildings as well.
This district has also supported me in my own professional growth and
involvement at the state and national level. I have learned much as
state presidents of the Kansas Administrators Association (USA) and the Kansas Curriculum Directors Association (KASCD). I was able to
bring back national trends and ideas to this district during my nine year tenure on the Board of Directors for the national Association for
Supervision and Curriculum Development.
The district and past superintendents have been very supportive of my
hopes and dreams to write and receive countless grants over the
years to bring additional funds in for our students and to pay our staff more money. At the time (1979), we wrote and received the largest
grant ever for our district in establishing a regional Teacher Center with a budget of nearly $500,000. Other grants soon followed in Drug and
Alcohol Prevention, innovative staff development cooperatives with Lawrence and Topeka school districts, and technology equipment and
training. What an exciting time this has been for me to help build the programs and recognition that have made Manhattan/Ogden a
lighthouse district in this state!
As I close out these final months, I am especially pleased at the accomplishment
of some long term goals. In personnel, we have
computerized our records and decision-making systems so that we are better able to make staffing and budget projections. In 1994, we were
able to write and implement a comprehensive technology plan that put a computer and internet access into every classroom. We were way
ahead of the rest of the nation’s schools—only 35% of the schools in America had internet in their school at that time, much less in each
classroom! Knowing that excellence can only be achieved with adequate resources, we were able this year to establish the authority for a
25% LOB and last year we set up a five year budget plan that made the High School Fitness Center a reality and also provided community
support for a five year Capital Outlay Budget.
I leave with the realization that many of the future goals I have for
this district must be turned over to new leadership. I also leave knowing
that together we have built an outstanding school district for which I am extremely proud. During the remainder of my term as Superintendent
through June 30, I hope to be of service to the board and the staff as we make as much headway as possible in setting the budget course for
next year. I thank everyone for their support and investment in me and for all the opportunities I have had to contribute and serve this
community as a teacher and administrator. After a few weeks of rest in July, I will be looking for other opportunities to contribute to my
community and my profession. I am really looking forward to some new adventures!