Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Harrison Superintendent Melinda Moss to lead Joplin R-8
Moss accepted a three-year contract, which calls for her to make $180,000 the first year and at least the same salary for the following two years.
The contract stipulates that Moss will receive increases equal to the percentage of increases given to full-time teachers during the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years.
Moss will officially take the reins on July 1, but she is hopeful that she will be working in Joplin well before that.
"It depends on my current district," Moss said. The arrangements are likely to be discussed Wednesday during a special meeting of the Harrison Board of Education.
Beginning earlier, she said, would "give (Interim Superintendent) Dr. (Norm) Ridder and I time to work on the transition."
Moss praised the groundwork that has been laid by the R-8 Board and Ridder in approving a strategic plan that covers what she says are the three common characteristics of a successful district- "children are safe, children are learning, and the district is fiscally responsible."
Moss says her first step in getting to know the school district and the community is a simple one.
"I'm going to do a lot of listening. Dr. Ridder has sown the seeds and we're really ready to take off."
Moss has been superintendent at Harrison since 2007. The job was a homecoming for the veteran educator who was attended Harrison schools from her seventh grade year through high school graduation.
During her nine and a half years at Harrison, she has helped establish a reputation for academic excellence, including consistently high test scores, a track record that appealed to the R-8 Board as it works toward reversing a decade of consistently decreasing test scores that began with the arrival of C. J. Huff for the 2007-2008 school year.
Board member Debbie Fort praised the work done by Ray and Associates, the search firm that brought in 47 applicants, including Moss and the other finalist, former Bartlesville and Neosho superintendent Gary Quinn.
Ray and Associates, coincidentally, was the firm that conducted the search for the Lindbergh School District that lured former Superintendent Jim Simpson from Joplin.
(Photo: Melinda Moss is interviewed by KZRG's Joe Lancello.)