Hensley named Hopewell principal

The Park Hill School District is moving ahead with work on the new Hopewell and Walden schools, as well as the LEAD Innovation Center.

Dr. Melissa Hensley, current principal at Renner Elementary, last week was named principal at Hopewell Elementary School when it opens for the 2019-2020 school year. Sasha Kalis, current assistant principal at Renner and Hawthorn elementary schools, will replace Hensley when Hopewell opens.

At the Thursday, March 8 board of education meeting, the board heard updates on the school projects, with earthwork bids coming in now for Hopewell, which will be built near Northwest 68th Street at Waukomis Drive. Bids are slated for approval at the Thursday, March 29 board meeting.

Dr. Melissa Hensley

Dr. Melissa Hensley

The LEAD Innovation Center, an alternative high school program for students wanting a specialized education in one of several focus areas, is currently operating out of a leased space near KCI Airport. The district plans to build a facility for the program, which has proved popular with students in its inaugural year.

District voters overwhelmingly passed a $110 million no-tax-increase bond proposal on  the November 2017 ballot, primarily for construction of Hopewell, Walden Middle School and the LEAD center. Additionally, t   district plans to leverage the remaining bonding capacity from a 2011 bond authorization.

The bulk of the funding available will go to the construction of Walden, which will be located off Northwood Avenue, at $34.4 million. Other planned projects and their estimated costs are, Hopewell, $23.8 million; a support and transportation services building, $23.8 million; LEAD Innovation Studio, $23 million; and capital and safety improvements, $10 million.

The district also recently announced Amber Kahler will serve as assistant principal at Lakeview Middle School. Kahler was Lakeview’s interim assistant principal. She received her bachelor’s degree from Park University, her master’s degree from Rockhurst University and her education specialist degree from Northwest Missouri State University. Previously, she served as the summer school administrator at Lakeview and taught second and third grades at Southeast Elementary.

Dr. Desiree Rios will serve as principal at Tiffany Ridge Elementary starting with the 2018-2019 school year, pending approval from the Park Hill Board of Education. Rios will start in July, following the June 30 retirement of current Principal Shawn Fitzmorris.

Since 2011, Dr. Rios has served as principal at Stanley Elementary in Blue Valley Schools in Overland Park, Kan. She previously served as the education services support team leader, a school improvement specialist and a teacher in Blue Valley. Rios received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Emporia State University and her doctorate from Baker University.


Dr. Melissa Hensley

Dr. Melissa Hensley