Two local school districts picked new superintendents on the same weekend, taking drastically different routes. You can read all about both new leaders at West Platte and North Platte starting on A1 of this week’s edition. From what I can tell, both made the right decision on how to proceed from their respective spots.
West Platte spent time on a thorough outside search, needing to do a little bit of repair work. I wasn’t here for much of the fallout surrounding former superintendent Je rrod Wheeler, so I don’t claim to know all of the facts surrounding his departure.
However, West Platte took the split between its board of education and its top leader seriously. Retired area superintendents Dr. Mark Harpst and Dr. Francis Moran were brought in to cool the climate and help move the district forward.
With the hiring of John Rinehart, West Platte brought in a leader who understands how to work with a confined budget in a district with dwindling patronage. Albany and Weston are very different places, and he will have more resources at his disposal. However, I’d venture to guess West Platte patrons will appreciate his perspective on fiscal matters.
North Platte acted quickly after Dr. Jeff Sumy submitted his resignation letter last month. The board held a special meeting and decided to go with an internal candidate, a person obviously trusted to continue his growth as an educator within the North Platte School District.
Karl Matt knows the district at many different levels.
During his 12 years at North Platte, including a stop in the middle with the Excelsior Springs School District, he has taught mathematics and been an administrator for the junior high school and high school. Don’t forget his coaching experience — first with the boys basketball team and most recently a highly successful stint with the girls.
Matt knows the kids and parents in this district well.
How the 39-year-old adjusts to increased duties and what to do with the girls basketball program will be the biggest concerns ahead.
North Platte’s success on the court should draw plenty of interest.
Matt said a decision won’t be made on the team’s future until after the season, but it’s very difficult to see him remaining in charge. Not with all the intricacies involved with running a school district still to be mastered.
North Platte has won six consecutive district titles and would be a strong bet for a seventh this season with potentially a lengthy playoff run to follow. Matt will likely have one last chance to add a trophy to his collection before taking on his new role in the summer of 2015.
We look forward to working with both superintendents in the near future.
I also wanted to take a chance to thank the cities in Platte County that provided our staff with such hospitality so far early in the holiday season.
Parkville, Platte City and Riverside — and also the mini-city of Zona Rosa — were very accommodating during lighting ceremonies, and we hope you enjoyed the photo coverage we broght to you of those events. If you know of upcoming holiday events where you anticipate a lot of people, let us know.
My contact info is listed here right below this line.
Ross Martin is publisher of The Citizen. He may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @Citizen_Ross.