50th Year Celebration Archive

50th Logo


SMSD Story CorpsAs we celebrate 50 years as a unified school district, we want to share some favorite memories and stories from educators, staff members, alumni, retirees, parents, students and community members. Interviews have been collected and you may view them on our SMSD Story Corps page

Shawnee Mission School District History
Unified School District 512
In January 1969, the Kansas Legislature passed Senate Bill Number 58 “providing for the establishment of one unified school district to include all of the territory of any rural high school district in which there are located at least two cities of the first class.”

As a result of Bill #58, effective July 1, 1969, the 12 elementary school districts and the Shawnee Mission High School District were unified into the present Shawnee Mission School District #512. As USD 512, we are the final unified school district in Kansas. 


First Shawnee Mission School District Board of Education

Shawnee Mission East Opens
Shawnee Mission East, opened in 1958. As the school was opening, some community members advocated for the school to be named after Dr. Howard D. McEachen, the acting superintendent.

Dr. McEachen was adamant to brand “Shawnee Mission” as a school district of excellence. He wanted colleges and universities to know students from Shawnee Mission were excellent, too, so the second high school opened with the name Shawnee Mission East High School.

SM East 1958

Shawnee Mission East High School Opens in 1958

Shawnee Mission West

Shawnee Mission West High School Opens for the 1962-63 School Year

SM South High School

Shawnee Mission South High School Opens for the 1966-67 School Year

At the time of unification, there were 48 elementary schools, 10 junior high schools and four high schools in operation. The Shawnee Mission School District included cities of Westwood, Westwood Hills, Mission Woods, Mission, Fairway, Roeland Park, Merriam, Shawnee, Overland Park, Lenexa, Prairie Village, Leawood, Countryside and Mission Hills. 

Shawnee Mission Northwest High School was slated to open in the fall of 1969, but construction was delayed and it opened in the spring of 1970.

SMNW Marching Band 1970

Shawnee Mission Northwest High School Marching Band 1970