Superintendent of Schools at Jefferson City Public Schools
Accomplishment that makes you most proud: Being married 17 years to an awesome woman and raising four awesome kids.
Do you have a nickname? If so, how and when did you get it? Not really. I have friends who call me Big L, but I’m not sure how long ago I got it. I think it started when I started getting bigger. I need to fix that and lose 20 pounds.
Length of time in your position: I started on July 21, 2015.
Former jobs and number of years/months in those positions: This is my eighth year as a school superintendent. Before moving to Jefferson City, I was superintendent at two other Missouri districts, including Maryville R-2 for four years and South Harrison R-2 in Bethany for three years. Prior to that, I was the career center director at South Harrison for four years after serving as counselor and business teacher there. I also taught business at Jefferson City High School during the 1995-1996 school year.
Tell us about your family: I am blessed. I have been married 17 years and married over my head with my wife, Angie. We have four children: Micah, a freshman at Simonsen; Sarah, a seventh-grader at Thomas Jefferson; Hannah, a fifth-grader at Pioneer Trails; and William, a third-grader also at Pioneer Trails.
Education: I am currently finishing up my doctorate through the University of Missouri in educational leadership and policy analysis. I have an educational specialist degree from Northwest Missouri State University, a master’s degree from Northwest Missouri State University and an undergraduate degree from MU.
Favorite charitable organization and why: Food banks providing meals to kids because we need to assure every child has proper nutrition.
How would you like to impact the Jefferson City community? Through leading JCPS and restoring confidence in public education. I hope to facilitate the community working together; I believe being a part of a community is something greater than each of us individually.
What are some of your immediate and longterm goals as the new superintendent?
Immediate goals are to build relationships and develop agreed-upon expectations with a clear vision and clear communication. I hope to get everyone rowing in the same direction.
My long-term vision is to lead JCPS in becoming a model school district. For this to happen, we need to ensure kids are learning, we are partnering with all stakeholders and we are practicing good stewardship.
Why are you passionate about your line of work? Education can provide hope to folks who might not otherwise have hope. We can be difference-makers in the lives of our youth, who are the future of our great nation.
Biggest career obstacle you’ve had to overcome: Getting into education. I was a business major at MU and worked for Procter and Gamble and called on grocery stores right out of college. I hated my job and went back to school to get certified to teach.
Greatest personal challenge where you have experienced success: Keeping my priorities in line. I have a tendency to get consumed with my job and need to keep my family life where it should be.
Favorite place to spend a Saturday afternoon: Anywhere with my family.
Last book read: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
Favorite TV show: I don’t watch a lot of TV , but when I do, it’s for relaxation. I enjoy Royals baseball and Chiefs and Mizzou football.
Favorite comfort food: I drink too much pop and should drink more water.
Favorite apps: Twitter, Weather and Bible Gateway apps
Ideal vacation: Anywhere with my family, but we enjoy the Lake of the Ozarks and family hiking and canoe trips.
What is something that has changed your life? My faith and realizing I’m part of something greater than myself.
Secret aspiration: It wouldn’t be much of a secret then, would it?
Source of inspiration: I try to pray every day and need to do a better job of this. I am inspired to be a difference maker in this world in my current leadership role as school superintendent.
Favorite hobbies: I enjoy playing musical instruments; golfing; spending time with my kids; and going back to the family farm near Bethany, Missouri.
What is a fun fact about you that most people don’t know? I can play most hymns on a piano by ear because I grew up going to a country church
Photo courtesy of JCPS.