My continued thanks to the dean’s search committee who truly gave of themselves this past Friday and Saturday as they hosted 12 candidates in Round 1 airport interviews. They will be busy calling references this week for multiple potential candidates in order to determine who to invite to campus the week of February 8th. I hope that many of you will make plans to attend their campus presentations and accept opportunities to engage them in other ways (as invited) as well. A detailed interview schedule will be sent to all faculty and staff once it is finalized.
Rodney Watson (Ed.S. ’00, Ph.D. ’07), superintendent of Spring (Tx.) Independent School District, has accepted our invitation to serve as the SOE’s 2016 May commencement speaker, and I will be pleased to welcome him back to campus this spring. While a student at UMKC, Rodney gained his first experience as a school administrator in the Hickman Mills and Lee’s Summit School Districts in Missouri. He also served as a national trainer for the Houston, Texas-based Haberman Educational Foundation, which aims to teach and implement research-based models for identifying teachers and principals, particularly educators who serve students at risk and in poverty. After just one year of being recruited in 2010 to the position of school improvement officer for the Houston Independent School District (HISD), where he supervised 12 elementary schools, Watson was promoted to chief school officer, a job in which he supervised 53 elementary schools and five school improvement officers. He also served as chief of human resources for HISD, where he provided oversight of professional development, leadership development, HR business operations, compensation, talent acquisition, employee relations and human accountability. In 2013 he was among the panelists selected to testify before the U.S. congressional Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary & Secondary Education in Washington, D.C. on the topic of school district performance measurements, and in 2014 he was named the School of Education’s Alumni Achievement Award winner.
Please know that all UMKC faculty, staff and students are invited to join families and staff of the Edgar L. and Rheta A. Berkley Child and Family Development Center for its annual all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast on February 12th from 7-10 a.m. (open house). Tickets are $5.00 (at the door or in advance) and are available from Drs. LaVerne Berkel and Ekatarina Strekalova-Hughes or Mr. Brad Martens. Believe me, the pancakes are good! See what some of the Berkley children have to say at https://youtu.be/16EGshR4FyU!
The School’s seventh annual Urban Education and Community Forum is ten weeks away (April 5th) and I encourage anyone teaching this semester to build the presentation into course syllabi if you have not already done so. Gloria Ladson-Billings, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will present “What it takes for effective urban education: The Role of Youth Culture in Transforming Teaching.” While the event is open to the public, please RSVP.
And, the Learning Commons renovations are expected to again move forward the second week of February beginning with the building of the new computer lab. At this time, the work is expected to be completed the last week of March so that students will be able to use the new space after Spring Break.
Have a good week.