Hinson marks week one, Bysfield year 20 with Shawnee Mission board

Dr. Jim Hinson was in the superintendent’s seat for the first time at the Shawnee Mission School Board meeting Monday.

Dr. Jim Hinson chalked up his first Shawnee Mission School Board meeting as superintendent Monday on the same night Donna Bysfield marked the beginning of her 21st year on the board. Both milestones were noted by the board in a pair of brief meetings that started the board’s new year.

Hinson began his job as superintendent on July 1, taking over for the retiring Gene Johnson. In his first week, Hinson said, he has already started meeting with the individuals and groups in the district, a process that will continue through September. “We are a school district designed to meet the needs of children,” Hinson said, “so my conversations have focused on kids and what we can do to serve them.”

Donna Bysfield has represented the East district on the board for 20 years.

In September, the new superintendent will hold public meetings at each of the five high schools. Next Wednesday he will be greeting the public under the clock tower in downtown Overland Park.

Bysfield, who was first elected to the board in 1993, is the only known board member to serve 20 years, fellow board member Craig Denny said. He presented Bysfield with a 20-year pin and noted she is the sixth person to represent the SM East district since unification.

In her first run in 1993, Denny said, Bysfield captured 59 percent of the vote in the primary and won the general election with 72 percent. She has been without a challenger since then.

The board renewed the contract of its lobbyist in Topeka for another year. Dr. Stuart Little’s compensation will remain at just over $49,000 for the year. Deb Zila was elected president of the board for the year with Sara Goodburn as vice president.