Park Hill superintendent unexpectedly resigns, citing health concern

In a surprise announcement, the Park Hill Board of Education agreed to accept the resignation of superintendent Dr. Scott Springston on Monday, April 13. The Park Hill School district issued a release and said Springston, 44, would go on leave effective immediately to deal with an unspecified health issue. The resignation becomes effective on June 30. Dr. Jeanette Cowherd, assistant superintendent for school improvement, will serve as acting superintendent through that time, and the board plans to meet soon to discuss plans for the 2015-16 school year.

“We appreciate Dr. Springston’s work during his almost three years as our superintendent in Park Hill,” board president Boon Lee said. “He made significant contributions to the success of this district. We wish him all the best for his health and success in the future.”

Springston served two-plus years in charge at Park Hill.

According to the district’s release, he led the district in its efforts to provide professional studies programs to prepare students for college and careers, to develop a long-range facilities plan, to make the district more efficient with taxpayer dollars, and to teach students 21st-century skills. The board recently approved a long-range facilities plan in what turned out to be the final major decision made in Springston’s tenure.

Springston did not attend the board’s meeting last week due to illness when Lee was elected board president, replacing Susan Newburger.

Cowherd’s duties as assistant superintendent included strategic planning, K-12 principal supervision and leadership development. She has been in the district for 10 years, previously serving as a building administrator.

Before entering school administration, Cowherd was an instrumental music teacher in southwest Missouri and the Shawnee Mission (Kan.) School District. Her previous honors 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.

During her tenure in Park Hill, Cowherd has been influential in the development of the Smart Start early literacy program and earned recognition throughout the state for her leadership in online learning.

“It is my honor to follow in the footsteps of great superintendents like Dr. Springston to take us through this transition,” Cowherd said in a statement. “I look forward to working with our staff, our parents and our community to continue our work building successful futures for each student, every day.”