Shawnee Mission community says farewell to Gene Johnson

Dr. Gene Johnson greeted well-wishers in the receiving line at his farewell reception.

The Shawnee Mission community had a chance to say goodbye to outgoing Superintendent Gene Johnson Tuesday and the SM West cafeteria was filled with friends, colleagues and community leaders.

Five people who taught with Johnson at his first school, McClure Elementary in Topeka in 1970, made the trip to the farewell reception and Johnson introduced his 26-year running partner during the reception, along with other long-time friends.

“One thing that hasn’t changed in the last 27 years (at Shawnee Mission) is our commitment to excellence,” Johnson told the crowd. “I am often asked, ‘how do we keep this going?” Tremendous support from other governments is part of the answer, Johnson said, noting Shawnee Mission serves 14 different cities – unusual for school districts.

We “focused on a theme of teamwork” five years ago, he said, at the time he took over the superintendent’s role. Johnson said he will walk away at 5:30 p.m. June 27. He will be replaced by Jim Hinson, currently superintendent in Independence.