Shawnee Mission School District Superintendent Jim Hinson unexpectedly resigned today. Hinson has spent more than thirty years in public education, four of them in Shawnee Mission.
In a statement on the school district’s website, the superintendent says, “I’ve decided to retire effective June 30, 2017. This decision will allow me to spend more time with my family, and pursue other lifelong goals.”
Under Hinson’s watch, the district invested millions in building news schools and the “one-to-one” technology initiative, which provided each student with a personal computer.
Linda Sieck, president of Shawnee Mission’s National Education Association, says, “I do think, as an older district, work to replace older elementary schools with new buildings will have a lasting effect with our district.”
But his public stance in favor of the block grant bill for school funding in 2015 put him at odds with some local legislators and teachers. Recently, his instruction that teachers refrain from wearing safety pins in the classroom, a symbol of support for minorities and immigrants, also caused controversy.
Sieck suggests that Hinson’s communication style could be improved on by the next superintendent.
“As we go forward I think we need to articulate that better with our staff and our community: What is that long range plan and how are we achieving it?” She says.
A new superintendent might not be the only new face in the coming months for the Shawnee Mission School District. In November, the complexion of the school board could change with three positions up for election.
Danny Wood is a freelance reporter for KCUR 89.3.