Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Superintendent of the Year Lankford to retire at the end of school year
Superintendent of the Year Dr. Ron Lankford has announced he will retire June 30.
The story was broken tonight by The Fuse Joplin, continuing its growing reputation of landing big scoops at the expense of the traditional area media (and this blog, for that matter).
In his letter to the Webb City R-7 Board of Education, Lankford wrote, "Writing this letter was not easy for me at this time, but I wanted to give you ample advance notice of this decision to enable you to have sufficient time to select a successor. I made this decision last spring but felt it best to delay the announcement until after the 2009-2010 school year had begun. After it was decided to hold a special election on Nov. 3, 2009, I determined it would be best to wait until after that date to inform you of my plans. It was my belief that all my energies should be spent preparing for our students' futures rather than my retirement."
The R-7 School District has passed one proposal after another during Lankford's time and this one was no different, garnering more than 75 percent of the vote. The $2 million bond issue will enable the district to add classrooms at the Madge T. James Kindergarten Center, Bess Truman Primary Center, and Carterville Elementary School to increase the early childhood program.
Lankford said he will not let up during the remainder of this school year and added, "It will be my goal to see that the district is well positioned for the new decade upon us."
A couple of personal notes: Ron Lankford has been with the Webb City district for 33 years. He began his educational career as a student teacher at East Newton High School, where i had the good fortune to be one of his students. He taught for a time at East Newton and had my younger sister, Kelly, in one of his classes. After my career in journalism came to an abrupt end in 1999, Dr. Lankford was the first school administrator to interview me for a teaching position. While I was not hired, I appreciated the experience and the opportunity.
I also had a great working relationship with Dr. Lankford during my nine years at The Carthage Press, where one of my beats for much of that time was Webb City.
(Randy Turner's new book, Newspaper Days, is available at Amazon.com.)