Thu November 10, 2011
Gone In A Fury: Top KC Educators Depart
By Dan Verbeck
Kansas City, MO. – The Kansas City School District has launched a fast search for administrators to replace three top executives who quit amid a furor over possible state takeover of the district. One school board member lays blame squarely on the state education department.
With the top department heads gone, staff are handling finance, academics and curriculum. Those chiefs left to join former superintendent John Covington in Michigan. Board Member Arthur Benson says Covington may have recruited one, but not all three. And that poaching of talent is accepted practice.
"After the Commissioner of Education for the State of Missouri panicked them into finding jobs other than in Kansas City, I'm not surprised that they landed jobs quickly," Benson says.
State Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro has suggested the state start moving toward a takeover of the Kansas City Schools with lost accreditation. Benson maintains the district has two years from January to regain stature.
Covington left Kansas City to head the Michigan Education Achievement Authority. He has recently hired Kansas City's head financial officer, Rebecca Lee-Gwin. He also hired the Kansas City District's curriculum officer, Mary Esselman, and MiUndrea Prince who had been chief academics officer.