The Kansas City Public Schools administrative cabinet is full, with the arrival this week of the new deputy superintendent.
Marla Sheppard, a former Texas educator, spent her first week getting familiar with the Kansas City district, meeting administrators and principals.
Sheppard is a native of Houston, where she had been a middle school and high school principal in some of that city’s toughest, low income neighborhoods. She later became an assistant superintendent for four years for Fort Bend Independent Schools, a suburban district in the Houston area.
Sheppard, 46, had worked with Kansas City Superintendent Mark Bedell while he was a principal in the Houston public school district.
Like Bedell, Sheppard said, she is a people person and wants to focus on working with school leaders and making sure every teacher has the right training, and resources to bring the best work out of their students.
“I think it is unfair to ask people to do something we haven’t trained them to do.”
Sheppard, who is married and has two sons who will attend Kansas City schools and a daughter going to University of Missouri, said she decided to take the Kansas City job because “I love urban education, and for the last four years I have missed being in an urban district.”
But in addition, Sheppard said, she believes in Bedell.
“Houston is my home. I was set there. I would not have moved unless I had confidence in the leadership where I was going.”
The school district also has a new chief financial and operations officer, Linda Quinley, who has been with Columbia Public Schools for 11 years. In Columbia she was first the director of business services and later served as the district’s chief financial and operations officer.