Chris Nicastro

11:21 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Missouri State Board Selects Vandeven As New Education Commissioner

The Missouri State Board of Education has named Dr. Margaret Vandeven as the state's next education commissioner. She starts in January.
Credit Courtesy photo / Missouri Department of Education

Update, 2:15 p.m. Wednesday:

Missouri's next education commissioner, Margaret Vandeven, says the provisionally-accredited Kansas City Public Schools will need to continue to make progress to regain full standing with the state.

"We're monitoring the situation," says Vandeven, a current deputy education commissioner who will take over as Missouri's schools chief early next year. "We certainly have our regional team working with the school district ... and we just need to continue to see improvement at the individual child level in that district."

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1:45 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

As Missouri Picks New Education Chief, Union Sees Opportunity For Diversity

Kansas City Public Schools Supt. Stephen Green announces the district has regained provisional accreditation from the state. Green has expressed his desire the State Board will select a new commissioner with more experience dealing with urban districts.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education wants to know what qualities the public values in its next education leader.

Current education commissioner Chris Nicastro plans to retire at the end of the year, leaving the State Board about two months to hire her replacement. The department released its criteria for selecting a new leader on Tuesday.

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8:28 am
Fri December 20, 2013

New Group Pits Kansas City School Reformers Against State Efforts

Jennifer Wolfsie is a member of the Kansas City Public Schools District Advisory Committee. She holds a petition to set a moratorium on state efforts to re-accredit schools.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

A collective of Kansas City organizations and public school parents have joined to petition the Missouri Board of Education to stop a study looking at changes for the unaccredited Kansas City schools.

The Coalition for Quality Public Education includes the Kansas City Federation of Teachers and NAACP. The group wants to end the study by the Indianapolis-based research group CEE-Trust.

Jennifer Wolfsie is a member of the school district's advisory committee. She wants the school district to continue its own work toward improvement.

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7:01 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Missouri Education Board President Defends Nicastro Amid Email Controversy

Missouri Education Commissioner, Chris Nicastro.
Credit State of Missouri

The president of the Missouri board of education is criticizing groups that are calling for Missouri Education Commissioner, Chris Nicastro, to resign. Meanwhile, one of those lawmakers says the Kansas City district has no voice on the state board.

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9:16 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Legislators Call For Resignation Of Missouri Education Commissioner

Two members of the Missouri General Assembly are calling on elementary and secondary education Commissioner Chris Nicastro to resign. They think Nicastro has lost the public’s trust.

In a written statement, House member Genise Montecillo and Sen. Paul LeVota, both Democrats, say Nicastro has, “demonstrated a troubling tendency to abuse power.”

Montecillo specifically accuses Nicastro of releasing inaccurate information regarding a proposed constitutional amendment to do away with teacher tenure.

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KC Currents
7:28 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Mo. Education Commissioner Defends Accreditation Recommendation

Missouri Education Commissioner, Chris Nicastro
Credit State of Missouri

The hopes of Kansas City Public School officials were dashed last month when Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro recommended the district remain unaccredited.  

KCPS had been seeking provisional accreditation. Officials cited improvements in test scores and other factors. This August, the district earned 60 percent of the total possible points on its state report card (that was up from about 20 percent in a preliminary assessment last year). Fifty percent was the cutoff to be considered for provisional accreditation.

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8:34 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Mo. Education Leader: Transfer Law Cripples Unaccredited Schools

The Joint Committee on Education meets at the Mo. Capitol on Oct. 1, 2013.
Credit Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

A joint House-Senate committee heard testimony Tuesday on the effects of Missouri's school transfer law, which allows students from unaccredited K-12 schools to transfer to nearby accredited districts.

The 5 1/2-hour hearing kicked off with Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)Commissioner Chris Nicastro telling the committee of the dire situation facing the state's unaccredited school districts.

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5:46 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Reaccreditation Hopes Dashed For Kansas City Schools

Missouri's Commissioner of Education notified Kansas City Schools Superintendent Steve Green Thursday that she would not recommend changing the district's accreditation. The schools were classified unaccredited in 2012.

Commissioner Chris NiCastro noted improved student performance, but she said one year of advances is not enough.

The  accreditation is on the Missouri Sate Board of Education meeting agenda in October.

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4:02 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Pros And Cons Of A Mayoral Takeover Of Schools

School board president Airick Leonard West and Mayor Sly James discuss the district's future.
Sylvia Maria Gross KCUR

Kansas Citians have been wringing their hands about the future of the Kansas City Missouri School District for decades. But at a press conference with Mayor Sly James at City Hall, school board president Airick Leonard West said that's changing.

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3:50 pm
Mon November 7, 2011

Lessons From The Takeover Of St. Louis Public Schools

Kansas City, Missouri school board members Crispin Rea, Airick Leonard West and Joseph Jackson.
Sylvia Maria Gross KCUR

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