Shawnee Mission announces new principals for Briarwood, Corinth and Highlands

Briarwood will have a new principal next year as the school organizes for a total rebuild.
Briarwood will have a new principal next year as the school organizes for a total rebuild.

The Shawnee Mission School District has announced new principals for three northeast Johnson County elementary schools for the 2015-2016 school year.

The names were released last week in advance of spring break. The three replace principals at Highlands, Corinth and Briarwood, who volunteered to accept the early retirement incentive offered by the school district.

At Highlands Elementary Lea Ann Combs has been named principal. Combs had served as supervisor of early childhood education at Shawnee Mission Instructional Support Center. She replaces Marilyn Webb, who has served as principal at Highlands for three years. Webb has worked in the school district for 39 years including 21 years as principal at the now closed Dorothy Moody Elementary.

At Corinth Elementary Chris Lowe will take over as principal. Lowe is the principal at Horizon Elementary in the De Soto School District. He replaces Dennis Way, who is completing his first year at Corinth. Way was principal at Sunflower Elementary for seven years and principal at East Antioch Elementary for eight years during his 29-year career with the district.

The new Briarwood Elementary principal will be Chris Lash. He is the principal of Rising Star Elementary within the Shawnee Mission district. He replaces Kent Peach who is retiring after 10 years with Shawnee Mission. Peach is in his third year as Briarwood principal. He served 28 years in the Liberty School District before that and earned an honor by the Missouri House of Representatives for dedication to Liberty schools.
The changes are also part of a broader administrative reorganization implemented in part to reduce overall administrative positions and ultimately reduce class sizes.

Lash will take the reigns as the district begins the project of totally rebuilding the Briarwood building, a process that will be paid for with funds from the bond issue approved by district voters in January.

Overall, seven Shawnee Mission elementary schools will have different principals next year. The principals include two from the Turner School District, two principals from the De Soto district and one from the Gardner-Edgerton district. Hinson has recently hired the Turner Superintendent, De Soto Superintendent and a former high-profile administrator from the Gardner-Edgerton School District.