Thank you SMSD: A message from Superintendent Dr. Mike Fulton

Outgoing SMSD Superintendent Mike Fulton.

My season as superintendent in Shawnee Mission is drawing to a close, and I want to thank you for being such a wonderful, caring community.

While this pandemic has presented its challenges, it is not a narrative that defines our past or future. The Shawnee Mission School District is on incredibly strong footing.

As a community, you developed a strategic plan that provides direction for Shawnee Mission for years to come. Shawnee Mission remains committed to ensuring every student will have a personalized learning plan that prepares them for college and career with the interpersonal skills they need for life success. That is our destination and it matters in the life of every Shawnee Mission student.

This objective is at the heart of all decision-making in Shawnee Mission. Our community showed tremendous support in passing a bond referendum that allows for needed facility and technology improvements. The results of this support can be seen in our summer construction, which is underway across the district. The bond passage also provides a pathway to hire more secondary teachers, which will be a tremendous benefit for our students and their learning. It will provide opportunities for our secondary schools to create fresh learning experiences that ensure every student masters content and skills and empowers them to develop meaningful, personalized learning plans. Work is already underway to identify fiscally sustainable strategies that support the teaching and learning needed to achieve the three objectives.

The community’s strategic plan sets a foundation for the future, with an unwavering focus on learning. Shawnee Mission’s budget is balanced and past personnel cuts were restored in whole or in part, while administrative costs at the district level were reduced with positions aligned to support the strategic plan. Data is increasingly used in public meetings to inform progress on the three objectives. Now is the opportunity and challenge to ensure schools are designed around the learners we serve. This requires changing instructional practices and school design. It requires students, teachers, staff, parents, and community members to work together and use research and data to inform learning practices.

Eventually, the storms created by the pandemic will pass. As the waters calm it will be important for Shawnee Mission to focus on its destination. Board members, past and present, have been clear about their commitment to the SMSD Strategic Plan. They have focused on ensuring equity in outcomes and making sure our fiscal house is in order. The Board also selected the next superintendent, Dr. Michelle Hubbard, to provide a steady hand in steering us forward. I thank the Board for their work and for their commitment to making SMSD an even better place for all children to learn.

The transition to Dr. Hubbard assuming the superintendent role on July 1, 2021, will be seamless, and she will do a marvelous job. I encourage us as community members to rally behind Dr. Hubbard and the SMSD, and to support the important work of ensuring every child has the learning they need for life success. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

Dr. Mike Fulton