Rita Fisher takes position with education training center

Monday, June 24, 2013
Rita Fisher

After 18 years working in the Jackson School District, assistant superintendent Dr. Rita Fisher is leaving her post, but not the education field.

Fisher last week announced her retirement and plans to take a new job as director of the Southeast Missouri Regional Professional Development Center, which is one of nine centers in Missouri that offers training for teachers and administrators through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

As director, Fisher will oversee educator training on a variety of topics, including special education issues, classroom evaluation, compliance with state rules and standards and lead services offered by the center, such as consultation on instruction in math, science and literacy.

Cheri Fuemmeler, the center's current director, is retiring after 12 years in the position.

The center is at Southeast Missouri State University and provides services to about 90 school districts included from the area near Festus, Mo., south to the Arkansas-Missouri border and west to Carter and Ripley counties.

Fuemmler said in the new position Fisher can expect to put a heavy focus on a new teacher evaluation system and a continuing transition to public schools' use of Common Core standards, which are replacing grade-level requirements for English/language arts and mathematics from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Fuemmler said she expects Fisher will do well in the position because of the administrator's familiarity with professional development, as Fisher herself and Jackson teachers often worked with the center's staff on multiple initiatives and programs.

"Dr. Fisher has an excellent background in professional development, and I have seen some very positive programming in the Jackson School District," Fuemmeler said.

Among the programs in the district that were implemented with the guidance of the center are professional learning communities, a method used in some school districts designed to foster stepped-up communication between teachers, resulting in instruction accommodating students at all learning levels.

The decision to hire Fisher came as a result of a search committee led by the university's education dean. The committee vetted candidates and conducted interviews.

Fisher said for her the decision to retire from Jackson was not an easy one.

"It was very difficult, because I have very close friendships in Jackson," she said. "I am close to the teachers and the other administrators, and I, of course, always want what is best for our students. I am really going to miss all of them. It's been a wonderful place to work."

Dr. Ron Anderson remains superintendent of the district.

Fisher's last day as a Jackson administrator will be July 1. She will begin her new job July 8.

A search for a replacement will be held during the summer. Administrators are hired through a contract with the school board on behalf the school district.

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

601 E. Adams St., Jackson, Mo.

920 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

One University Plaza, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

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