January 9, 2017
Dr. Dennis L. Carpenter named new Lee’s Summit R-7 superintendent
New superintendent’s experiences include improving student achievement and building community
Dr. Dennis L. Carpenter, currently Hickman Mills School District superintendent, will serve as the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s 2017-18 superintendent, according to a Jan. 9 announcement by the Board of Education. Board members and Dr. Carpenter are finalizing the new superintendent’s contract and expect to approve it by the Jan. 19 Board of Education meeting.
“We are fortunate to have a leader of Dr. Carpenter’s caliber, experience and integrity joining our school district,” said Bob White, Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education president. “He has a solid record in improving student achievement as well as extensive experience in strategic planning and facilities and budget management.”
Dr. Carpenter has served as superintendent of the Hickman Mills School District since 2013 and previously served as deputy superintendent of operations and the associate superintendent for human resources for Newton County Schools in Covington, Ga. An award-winning district, Newton County Schools includes approximately 20,000 students in a growing community southeast of Atlanta. In addition, he has worked as an assistant superintendent for support services in Baxley, Ga.; and as an elementary school principal and middle school assistant principal, both in Georgia school districts. He has nearly 21 years of experience in public education.
“We believe we have found the perfect fit for Lee’s Summit R-7,” Mr. White said. “Our Board of Education was especially impressed with Dr. Carpenter’s extensive experience in instructional leadership, student success, fiscal management, operations and school renovation/construction.”
Under Dr. Carpenter’s leadership, Hickman Mills School District has made significant improvements in areas such as student attendance, graduation rates and ACT composite average scores. The district’s annual performance report increased by 18.9 percent in 2014, the largest increase of any K-12 urban or suburban school district in Missouri during that year.
Additional accomplishments in Hickman Mills under his tenure have included implementation of full-day pre-kindergarten for all district 4-year-olds, school renovation projects, a successful community-wide strategic planning effort, successful passage of a 19 million dollar bond issuance, and a substantial increase in the district foundation’s fundraising efforts.
“I am both humbled and honored to be selected by the Lee’s Summit Board of Education to serve as superintendent of a district with such a rich history of academic and extracurricular excellence,” Dr. Carpenter said. “I trust that my commitment to student-centered, inclusive leadership will assist in furthering the district’s commitment to an equitable educational experience for all students.”
Dr. Carpenter will begin his new job in Lee’s Summit R-7 on July 1. Dr. Dave Benson, who is serving as interim superintendent from Sept. 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017, will be working with Dr. Carpenter to ensure a successful transition.
The Board of Education began its search for a permanent superintendent in summer 2016 and has worked with BWP and Associates. The search process emphasized community involvement with more than 750 staff members and citizens participating in focus groups and an online survey. During the survey and focus groups, participants were asked to help identify critical attributes for the district’s next superintendent.
“We have been grateful for the involvement and support of our community during this search process,” Mr. White added, “and believe this feedback and support helped us select an outstanding leader for our schools.”
Darrell Curls, president of the Hickman Mills Board of Education, shared his Board members’ thoughts regarding the announcement. “As a Board we want to congratulate Dr. Carpenter on his plans to take the next step in his career. We are grateful to Dr. Carpenter for his four years of service to our district and its children. We have made significant progress under his leadership. Lee’s Summit is the recipient of a great leader who cares about all children.”
Dr. Carpenter earned his bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Georgia Southern University, his master’s degree in educational leadership from Augusta State University, an education specialist degree and a doctorate degree in educational leadership and educational administration, both from Georgia Southern University. Georgia Southern University is a land grant college located in Statesboro, Ga., and part of the University System of Georgia. The university is classified as a doctoral and research university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and has been recognized as a top undergraduate and graduate university by both U.S. News and World Report and Forbes magazine. Augusta State University, located in Augusta, Ga., is also part of the University System of Georgia. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
He has received the South Kansas City Alliance Innovative Educational Program Award, received the Friend of the Council for Exceptional Children Award, was named Phi Beta Sigma Educator of the Year in Savannah, Ga., and was named an Emerging Leader by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
In addition, Dr. Carpenter has been a presenter at numerous state and national educational conferences on topics such as STEM education, student achievement, racial equity, professional development and parent/community involvement. Dr. Carpenter is married to Dr. LaQuanda Carpenter, and they have two children, Landen Drake and Layla Dee.
To view a video of a public information session with Dr. Carpenter, held Jan. 18, visit the district’s YouTube channel.
The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District is recognized as one of the top educational systems in this region. The district has grown steadily throughout its history with current enrollment at 17,927 students. The district employs 2,652 staff members. The 117-square-mile district includes the cities of Lee’s Summit, Greenwood, Lake Lotawana and Lake Winnebago as well as unincorporated areas of Jackson County. The district’s mission is “We prepare each student for success in life.”
November 15, 2016
Lee’s Summit R-7 superintendent search proceeding on schedule
Search includes comprehensive community feedback
The Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education is continuing its search for a permanent superintendent. Plans call for the Board to select the district’s 2017-18 superintendent by late January or early February. Applications closed on Nov. 11 with a total of 36 individuals applying for the job by the deadline.
The Board of Education is working with BWP and Associates on the search process. The consultants are currently screening the 36 candidates and will present a slate of qualified candidates to the Board of Education by early December. BWP and Associates is determining this list using a screening process that incorporates feedback from the community and the Board of Education.
More than 750 community members shared their opinions earlier this fall through focus groups and an online survey. In the survey and the focus groups, participants were asked to help identify critical attributes for the district’s next superintendent.
Dr. Bert Kimble of BWP and Associates presented community feedback gathered from the surveys and groups at an Oct. 13 Board of Education work session. Using this feedback, the consultants and Board of Education developed a leadership profile for the superintendent.
Board of Education members plan to begin interviewing candidates for the permanent superintendent position during December.
The new superintendent will begin working within Lee’s Summit R-7 during summer 2017. Dr. Dave Benson was named Lee’s Summit R-7 interim superintendent on Aug. 16. He began serving in this role on Sept. 1 and will serve as interim through June 2017.
The latest news about the superintendent search is available on the district’s superintendent search webpage.
October 17, 2016
More than 750 community members participate in superintendent search focus groups and survey
LS R-7 Board of Education hears community feedback at Oct. 13 work session
More than 750 community members shared their opinions about the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s superintendent search earlier this fall. Close to 250 participated in 17 focus groups, held Oct 4 and 5, and more than 500 citizens completed an online survey.
The R-7 Board of Education has retained BWP and Associates to assist with the search. The consultants conducted the community focus groups and have compiled results from both the group sessions and the survey. Through the survey and the focus groups, participants were asked to help identify critical attributes for the district’s next superintendent. The survey closed Oct. 7.
Dr. Bert Kimble of BWP and Associates presented community feedback gathered from the surveys and groups at an Oct. 13 Board of Education work session. Using this feedback, the consultants and Board of Education are developing a leadership profile for the superintendent. The report from BWP and Associates is posted on the district’s BoardDocs website.
The deadline for candidates to apply for the Lee’s Summit R-7 superintendent position is Nov. 11. The Board of Education’s goal is to recruit superintendent candidates and conduct interviews during this semester with the permanent superintendent being named in January 2017. The new superintendent will begin working within Lee’s Summit R-7 during summer 2017.
Dr. Dave Benson was named Lee’s Summit R-7 interim superintendent on Aug. 16. He began serving in this role on Sept. 1 and will serve as interim through June 2017.
August 16, 2016
Dr. David Benson named Lee’s Summit R-7 School District interim superintendent
“We feel very fortunate to have someone of Dr. Benson’s caliber in the interim superintendent position and believe he brings the skills, knowledge and experience that are needed to lead our successful school district during the coming year,” said Bob White, Board of Education president.
Dr. Benson has a total of 43 years of experience in education that includes serving as a superintendent of high-performing school districts in Missouri, Kansas and Iowa. He has been recognized as Kansas Superintendent of the Year and has received the National Education Association Award for Outstanding Labor Management Relations, the Missouri School Public Relations Association Administrator of the Year Award and the Kansas School Public Relations Association Communicator of the Year Award.
Dr. Benson will serve in this position from Sept. 1 through June 2017. The Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education members are also working on the search for a permanent superintendent to be named later this school year. The Board’s timeline calls for the permanent superintendent to begin working for Lee’s Summit R-7 in summer 2017.
“I am pleased to have the opportunity to serve the students, faculty, staff and community of Lee’s Summit R-7 and look forward to a great 2016-17 school year,” said Dr. Benson.
Dr. Benson retired from the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Community School District in June 2015 after serving as superintendent for six years. He also served as superintendent of the Ladue (Missouri) School District for five years, as superintendent of the Blue Valley (Kansas) School District for 11 years, as superintendent of the Fort Madison (Iowa) Community School District for six years and as superintendent of Unified School District No. 305 in Moundridge, Kansas, for four years. In addition, he has worked as a school district personnel director, principal, assistant principal and teacher for districts in Kansas and Missouri.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education (sociology and history) and master’s degree in secondary education, both from Pittsburg State University; his specialist degree in school administration from Wichita State University; and his doctorate in educational administration and foundations from Kansas State University.
Dr. Benson has been active in the community for many years, including through organizations such as Rotary, Chamber of Commerce and United Way. He has also written articles for Midwest Express, Workforce and Scholastic Administrator.
The Board of Education accepted applications for the interim position during late July and interviewed candidates on Aug. 2 and 9 during closed session meetings. No candidates currently employed by the R-7 School District applied for or were interviewed for this position due to the timing of the job opening and the need for existing staff members to fulfill other responsibilities within the school district.
Dr. Benson’s contract for the position was approved by the Board of Education during an Aug. 16 special meeting. The interim superintendent’s compensation package will total $225,000 for the 10-month period.
Since May 20, Dr. Brent Blevins, who is the district’s deputy superintendent of operations, has been serving as both the district’s acting superintendent and deputy superintendent of operations. Dr. Blevins will return to his role as deputy superintendent on Sept. 1.
“I also want to sincerely thank Dr. Blevins and the entire Superintendent’s Leadership Team for taking on extra responsibilities these past three months in addition to their regular duties,” added Mr. White.
From the Board President
October 24, 2016
Community feedback valuable in search for permanent LS R-7 superintendent
Surveys and focus groups help create a culture for positive results
By Bob White
Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education President
On behalf of our Board of Education, I want to thank our community and staff for an overwhelming response to our request for feedback regarding our search for a Lee’s Summit R-7 permanent superintendent. More than 500 individuals completed an online survey earlier this fall with almost 250 participating in a total of 17 focus groups.
This type of community involvement is much greater than what is normally received in this type of process, and we truly appreciate each person who took the time to share opinions. This feedback, presented to the Board of Education by BWP and Associates at our Oct. 13 work session, is helping Board members identify and prioritize critical attributes for our new superintendent.
Your involvement and support is especially vital as we continue involving the community in order to a achieve positive results. BWP and Associates noted that based on the survey and focus groups Lee’s Summit R-7 citizens are very proud of the school district and the quality of administration and teachers supporting our students.
Our school district is currently accepting applications for the position of superintendent with the application process closing on Nov. 11. In early December, the Board of Education will receive a slate of qualified candidates as recommended by BWP and Associates. The consulting firm will determine this list using a comprehensive screening process that incorporates feedback from the community and Board of Education.
Throughout December and January, the Board of Education will continue to narrow the list of candidates. Following further screening and interviews, the goal is to name the new superintendent by late January or early February. The permanent superintendent will begin his or her duties in July 2017.
I also want to thank the many staff and community members who have welcomed our interim superintendent, Dr. Dave Benson, to Lee’s Summit R-7. We have been pleased with Dr. Benson’s leadership and his focus on student success as well as community engagement and open communications. On the job since Sept. 1, Dr. Benson has been working with R-7 staff on tasks such as implementing our district’s new five-year strategic plan, known as Destination 2021. Our Board of Education has also been working with administration to strengthen Board policy and has approved contracts in accordance with newly revised Board policy DGA that has given greater guidance as to how to comply with state statutes.
I want to call your attention to an additional effort to enhance communications with our public. Beginning in December, we plan to begin videotaping our Board of Education meetings with videos available via our district’s webpage. More information about how to access these videotaped meetings will be included in district communications later this fall.
I hope you are having an outstanding school year and a wonderful autumn. Our students and staff members are accomplishing great things both in the classroom and beyond. Just recently, we learned that our 2016 graduates scored above the state and national averages on the ACT college-entrance exams. In addition, Lee’s Summit R-7 students performed well on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) tests, scoring above the state average in each subject area and each grade level tested.
Please feel free to contact our Board of Education — or any school district department — via our “contact us” webpage, available at https://contact.lsr7.org/. We welcome your feedback and are grateful to serve our students, staff and community as Board members.