The official hunt is on to find the person with the right fit to lead USD 409.

Atchison Public Schools’ Board of Education members have engaged Kansas Association of School Boards to begin a search for suitable candidates to fill the shoes of Superintendent Susan Myers. Myers officially announced her intention to step down from her position and retire effective at the end of the current school year. Board members accepted her resignation at the end of their regular board meeting Monday, Nov. 12.

Vice-President Carrie Sowers, a school board member, announced there are plans in the works to sign a contract with KASB officials as early as Tuesday to facilitate the hiring process with Board Attorney Larry Mears to handle negotiations. The first step in the process, Sowers said will be to hold characteristics meetings tentatively scheduled for Monday, Dec. 3. The meetings are for members of the public like the schools’ parent groups and patrons to determine what characteristics are desirable to serve Atchison Public Schools. There also will likely to be surveys for input.

There will be a special school board meeting after the characteristics meeting for input, Sowers said. The details will be forthcoming later as the plan unfolds.

“We want this to be a transparent process,” Sowers said on behalf of the Board.

The initial timeline, although not yet refined, is to narrow the search in January, 2019 and have a suitable candidate to hire in February to be in place for the 2019-20 schoolyear.

Board members officially accepted Myers resignation for the record after they returned from executive sessions behind closed doors first to discuss negotiations for a total of 25 minutes with Myers and Mears. Board members convened behind closed doors for an additional 26 minutes to discuss matters of nonelected personnel. After their return to open session Board Member Dr. John Eplee made the motion concerning personnel.

Concerning Myers resignation Eplee said it is a personal note for him. “It’s like say it ain’t so, but it is so,” Eplee said. “We’re all extremely saddened by this.” For some of the current school board members like him, Myers has been the only superintendent they have worked with. Myers tenure with from his standpoint has been an interesting journey along her guided ship.

President Herb Gwaltney said Eplee’s statement echoed his sentiment about Myers time of service to the district.

Concerning the other personnel matters, board members:

Accepted the resignation of Myers effective June 30, 2019 for retirement purposes, and that of Paraeducator Sheli Cook that became effective Nov. 5.

Approved the supplemental contract for Josh Downing to serve as the assistant basketball coach at Atchison High School.

Approved the following recommendations for employments as paraeducators, effective for the 2018-19 school year: Taygen Hinton, McKenzie Dunn, Trudy Kau, Brendan Hoffman, Sarai (Sara) Lawrence and Kathryn Hinton.

Mary Meyers can be reached at mary.meyers@npgco.com.

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