Administrators take new roles at Sikeston schools

Monday, August 13, 2012

SIKESTON, Mo. -- Several buildings in the Sikeston School District will contain familiar faces -- but in different administrative roles -- as the new school year gets underway Wednesday.

Tom Williams, who has worked the past 13 of his 23 years in the district as principal of the high school, officially began as the district's superintendent July 1.

While he's been in his new position just more than a month, the former principal said he's adjusting quite nicely.

"It's been very enjoyable," Williams said. "I've met some extremely nice, helpful people. I've got an outstanding K-12 staff that are really willing to work and do the best job they can for their students. I'm extremely pleased with what I'm seeing."

But Williams said he's not surprised by it.

"I already knew what we had," he said.

Other changes in the central office include Brent Keefer, who has been the district's athletic director, becoming assistant superintendent of secondary education and professional development, and Chuck Mayes, who was the principal at the Fifth and Sixth Grade Center, becoming the new assistant superintendent of middle grades and curriculum.

Cindy Griffin will continue as the assistant superintendent of elementary education and special services.

When he moved to the central office, everything was new again, Williams said.

"It's a new challenge every day -- new events, new activities, new programs that you have to deal with so it has been a challenge for me -- and it's been a refreshing challenge," Williams said.

Among issues administrators will focus on this year include the Missouri School Improvement Review and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act waiver, which was recently approved by the U.S. Department of Education to give the state flexibility from the federal No Child Left Behind requirements. Looking at ways to close the achievement gap among students will continue to be addressed, Williams said.

Mayes said he's also looking forward to what the new school year brings.

As a person new to the position of chief academic officer, Mayes said he's excited about the combination of new ideas from the new administrators in the district and the knowledge base of the returning administrative staff.

"However, with all the change, our task of educating the students of this district remains the same," Mayes said.

This includes continuing to work with teachers on providing engaging and challenging instruction in the classroom, Mayes said.

"We want to provide the students with the information they need and also teach them how to apply this information to other situations," Mayes said. "We want our students to be problem solvers prepared for any opportunity or challenge they are faced with in the future."

Mayes also recommended parents become involved in their child's school.

"I encourage them to meet their child's teacher and to contact the teacher or counselor if they have questions or comments. We want to make this year a successful school year and hope by working together we can help our students achieve great things," Mayes said.

Williams agreed.

"I encourage parents to find out what's going on in the classroom, what's going on with the teachers and to talk to the teachers and see how they -- as parents -- can help with educating their child," Williams said.

Keefer said working at the central office is much quieter than the building full of students he's used to, and, like Williams and Mayes, he's settling in his new work space just fine.

"It's a good feeling of ‘team' over here, and everybody works very closely together," Keefer said.

Keefer said so far the experience is a very positive one.

"We've had new teacher orientation [last week], and we had a big class, if you will, of new teachers coming in this year -- 38 of them," Keefer said. "We had a good orientation session with mentor/mentee programs and professional development."

While the new central office administrators are enjoying their new roles and awaiting the new school year, Keefer said there's also something else he's anticipating.

"I'm still looking forward to the first football game," Keefer said. "That will never change -- for me, anyway."

Pertinent address:

Sikeston, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: