“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.