After eight months of service as interim superintendent, the Park Hill Board of Education last week chose Dr. Jeanette Cowherd as the new permanent leader of the district. At the Dec. 10 board meeting, the board voted unanimously to make Cowherd superintendent. Her tenure will begin in July.
The board chose Cowherd after a national search, which included feedback from more than 600 students, parents, staff and community members. Stakeholders weighed in on focus groups, filled out surveys and helped interview the three finalists.
“Dr. Cowherd will not only keep us on track but will bring her own touch to take us to the next level,” Park Hill board president Boon Lee said in a statement. “In addition to her strong leadership of key district initiatives in the past, we are confident in her vision, passion, student focus and dedication to continuous improvement.”
Cowherd, formerly the assistant superintendent in charge of school improvement, handled strategic planning, principal supervision and leadership development. She has worked in the district for 11 years, previously serving as a building administrator.
Before entering school administration, she was an instrumental music teacher in southwest Missouri and at the Shawnee Mission (Kan.) School District.
“I am glad the board did its due diligence by conducting this search,” Cowherd said. “Park Hill has high expectations for excellence, and this process proved the board’s commitment to meeting those expectations. I am so honored that, at the end of this rigorous process, the board chose me for this tremendous opportunity to serve the students, staff and community of Park Hill.”
During her time in Park Hill, Cowherd led the development of the district’s strategic plan and was influential in the development of the Smart Start early literacy program.
She also earned recognition throughout the state for her leadership in online learning. Cowherd has received the March of Dimes Teacher of the Year award, the Shawnee Mission West Teacher of the Year award and the Influential Educator award from the Missouri Scholars Academy.
Cowherd was selected to lead the district last April, after the surprise resignation of former superintendent Dr. Scott Springston. Citing health-related matters, Springston resigned just weeks after the board of education unanimously voted to extend his contract through 2018.
Also at the meeting, the board presented the proposed 2016-17 district calendar, which features Aug. 11, 2016 as the first day of school and May 23, 2017 as the last day. Winter break would be from Dec. 23 to Jan. 4. Spring break would be March 20-24.