Richard Kramer departing SM North as principal; SM West associate Dave Tappan to take over

Richard Kramer introduced SM North cross country phenon Belesti Akalu at Monday's Shawnee Mission Board of Education meeting.
Richard Kramer introduced SM North cross country phenom Belesti Akalu at Monday’s Shawnee Mission Board of Education meeting.

Shawnee Mission administrators announced this week that Richard Kramer, SM North’s principal for the past nine years, will assume the role of district director of student activities and athletics for the 2016-17 school year.

Dave Tappan, who is currently an associate principal at SM West, will take over as SM North principal next school year.

In a message to SM North students, teachers and parents on Monday, Kramer called his coming departure from the school bittersweet.

“I am excited about the professional opportunities that this position will offer me, but I will miss serving as principal at SM North,” Kramer wrote. “I began my professional work as a teacher and coach, and throughout my educational career I have remained a coach at heart. The position of director of student activities and athletics offers me the opportunity to continue that work on a broader scale within the district.”

Kramer has been credited with fostering a strong sense of community and pride during his tenure at SM North, building a culture that focuses on respect and accountability. His tireless enthusiasm for SM North athletics was rewarded this month with the school’s first state title in any sport since 2002, when the boys basketball team won its first championship in 63 years of competition.

“It is an exciting time at SM North, and I am confident that this school and community will continue to excel,” Kramer wrote in his announcement. “Although I will no longer be serving as principal, I look forward to remaining connected and continuing to work with the SM North community.”

Kramer’s new position means a change for current district athletic director Matt Johnson, as well. Johnson, an SM North graduate, will become the Indians’ school-level athletic director next school year. Johnson started in his role as district athletics director in 2014. In 2015, he earned the Art Newcomer Promising AD Award from the Kansas Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.

SM North faculty members had the opportunity to meet Tappan on Tuesday when he was introduced as the new principal. The district plans to hold community meeting opportunities with Tappan in the coming weeks.

Prior to joining the Shawnee Mission district, Tappan served as principal at Louisburg High School, which earned a National Blue Ribbon School Award during his tenure. Tappan holds a bachelor’s degree from Baker University and a master’s in educational administration from the University of Kansas.