Students at Olathe East High School will be greeted by a new face when classes begin this month — someone who’s quite familiar with the school district and the community.
In July, Kerry Lane was named the new principal of Olathe East. She replaces Bill Weber, who has left the district.
Lane’s arrival at Olathe East means each of Olathe’s four public high schools will be led by new principals this year. In March, the district announced new leadership at Olathe North, Olathe South and Olathe Northwest high schools after all three principals at those schools retired at the conclusion of the school year.
It caps off a year of change for the district, which is also being led by an interim superintendent, Patricia All, after Marlin Berry left in April for a superintendent job in Northwest Arkansas.
For Lane, it’s a homecoming of sorts. She’s a product of Olathe schools, having attended elementary, middle and high school in Olathe. She graduated from Olathe South in 1991 and has spent her entire 20-year career in the district.
Lane said she’s excited for the opportunity to help lead Olathe East into the future.
“There’s a lot of satisfaction in being able to give back to a school district that has given so much to me,” Lane said. “It’s unique that I have that long-term perspective because Olathe has grown every year. When I was in high school, Olathe East wasn’t even here.”
Lane has spent the last nine years as principal of Santa Fe Trail Middle School. She started her career in 1995 as a language arts teacher at California Trail Middle School where she taught for six years. She also served as an assistant principal at Santa Fe Trail Middle School and Olathe North High School before becoming principal at Santa Fe Trail.
She has a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Northwest Missouri State University and a master’s degree in administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is currently working on her doctorate in educational administration from the University of Kansas.
Even though she’s been working with middle school students the last several years, Lane said she’s thrilled to make the jump to high school.
“I love the idea of working with high school kids,” Lane said. “And I love the sense of pride that each high school has. You really get that sense of school spirit at the high school level.”
Lane said she describes herself as a teacher first. But as an administrator, she’s focused on making sure every school she leads is the best that it can be.
“To help support great teaching is my primary job,” Lane said. “I want to make sure teachers have the resources they need and that they are providing the skills and life lessons that will be applicable to a student’s future.”
Lane said she will rely on several guiding principles as she embarks on her new journey at Olathe East. One of the most important ones for her is trust. She said she strives to have an open, honest and transparent relationship with students, teachers and parents.
“I always come at things from a perspective of what is best for the student,” Lane said. “And I think that is something that everyone can always agree on.”
Lane said she is looking forward to immersing herself in the culture of Olathe East and to continue building upon the school’s excellent reputation. She said she’s excited to get to know the staff, the community and most importantly, the kids.
“I enjoy being able to develop relationships with the kids and knowing that you are making a footprint on their life forever,” Lane said. “It’s a responsibility that I don’t take lightly.”
Prairie Trail Middle School: Rick Sola
Santa Fe Trail Middle School: J.J. Libal
Fairview Elementary: Andrew Dimmitt
Prairie Center Elementary: Chris Lucas
Walnut Grove Elementary: Natalie DeWeese