It is such an honor to be selected to serve as the next superintendent for the Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD). As a long-time resident of one of the 14 cities in the district, I have experienced the value the school district brings to this amazing community.
One advantage I have as I begin my superintendency is that this community has provided strong direction for the district. In June 2019, the SMSD Board of Education approved a Strategic Plan, developed in partnership with the community. The plan has three interrelated objectives: Each student will have a personalized learning plan, which will prepare them for college and careers, with the interpersonal skills they need for life success. This is exactly the right work, and I am strongly committed to it, and to ensuring that ALL of our students can achieve it. We have a wonderfully diverse community, and that diversity is one of our biggest strengths. We are at our best when the “we” in “we the people” truly means all of us!
My own personal journey is proof that relationships matter. In my life, I have many examples of the importance of relationships. My dad was the one that set high expectations for me, provided a safety net and support when I failed, and was my loudest cheerleader when I succeeded. I can also think of three teachers: Mrs. Warren, my 3rd grade teacher; Mrs. Richardson, my middle school Student Council sponsor and a special education teacher; and Mrs. Kennemer, my senior English teacher. All three of these teachers believed in me. They encouraged me to work hard and instilled in me leadership skills. Each of them took time to know and support me, and without them, I would not be the person I am today.
Each of our students needs relationships with caring and responsible adults (beyond their parents and family members) in order to be their best selves. We will focus on nurturing and supporting those relationships across our system, in order to reach our strategic plan objectives. The same is true for adult relationships, and within our Strategic Plan are strategies for giving our secondary teachers additional time to plan and collaborate, so that together, we can support our students in reaching their dreams.
The Shawnee Mission School District is a remarkable place. It has a rich history of success, powerful traditions, and tremendous assets. The community brings high expectations, and this district is poised to meet and exceed them. It won’t be easy, and there will be many challenges to overcome. I am committed to working collaboratively with our teachers, our administrators, our Board of Education, and our community, in order to ensure that the promise of our Strategic Plan becomes real in the lives of our students. This is work that none of us can achieve by ourselves. It will take all of us working together, but I am convinced that is who we are.
Dr. Michelle Hubbard