USD 259 begins superintendent search after holiday season

Wichita Public Schools (KSN File Photo)

WICHITA, Kan (KSNW) – Monday night, KSN learned current USD 259 Superintendent, John Allison, was hired by Olathe Public Schools and will start next year.

After the holidays, the USD 259 school board plans on meeting to discuss finding a new leader.

It took about a year to replace the last USD 259 Superintendent, which ultimately ended up being Allison.

School officials say it’s a long and diligent process, and even though board members haven’t met yet, they say they want someone who is willing to listen to the Wichita community.

“I was pretty sad to see John go. But, I certainly understand and respect his reasons for the move,” stated USD 259 board member, Betty Arnold.

Arnold, who is the former USD 259 Board of Education President, is thankful for leadership Allison has shown over the last seven years.

“I don’t think there is ever a good time, but I certainly feel very optimistic. This is a time where not only the board members should reflect on the direction that we would like to see things go,” explained Allison.

She says it’s been a tough year with funding issues, all around the state and, she’s hoping for a strong candidate.

“Someone that can not only help us meet the challenges now, but help us look forward to the future,” answered Arnold.

Sheril Logan, the current USD 259 Board President, wants a leader who will continue to seek input from the community.

“We’re looking for a person who understands how to build community support. Who understands how to talk and listen to our staff, because I think that’s a two way street,” stated Logan.

Steve Wentz, President of United Teachers of Wichita, also wants a candidate that’ll listen to USD 259 employees.

He released the following statement to KSN:

“UTW wishes Superintendent Allison good luck in his new position. Obviously, a desire to be closer to family is paramount in any career decision.

As far as a replacement, we hope that the BOE will consider those who are qualified no matter where they are currently employed. Whether the replacement is from within or from outside 259, it is our desire to have someone who is ready to listen to teachers and fully support them. Despite what is stated, the actions by district leadership have continued to send a message that teachers see as less than fully supportive. This must end. It is our desire that a new superintendent listen to teachers concerns and streamline the process and chain of command so that it is crystal clear who is making what decisions and where the proper authority rests.

UTW looks forward to working with all 259 stakeholders in finding a replacement for the position.”

Logan says it’s time the school board gets to work on find their next leader.

“It’s time to look at it, and reevaluate it and make some decisions and a new person will bring fresh eyes,” she explained.

The school board plans to meet after the holiday season. A special executive meeting is scheduled for January 5th.  They hope to have Allison’s replacement by the time he leaves but, they say it could take even longer to find the right person.