Key KC school administrator Vickie Murillo is tapped to lead an Iowa district

Vickie Murillo
Vickie Murillo Kansas City Public School District

Vickie Murillo, a Kansas City Public Schools administrator instrumental in helping the district last year score at the full accreditation level for the first time in 30 years, is reportedly leaving for a job in Iowa.

The Council Bluffs Community School Board is set to vote on Murillo as the new superintendent of the district’s schools at its meeting Tuesday night.

The Council Bluffs district announced Monday that Murillo was the finalist chosen to succeed Superintendent Martha Bruckner, who is retiring at the end of the school year.

“Dr. Murillo will bring to our district the desired experience and skills that were identified in community focus groups and in nearly 600 online surveys completed,” Troy Arthur, president of the Council Bluffs board of education, said in a statement Tuesday.

“We are confident she can lead us toward the future, continuing to raise the bar for all students in the Council Bluffs Schools.”

Murillo is the Kansas City Public Schools’ chief academic and accountability officer. But in February, seven months after he came to Kansas City as its new superintendent, Mark Bedell announced a restructuring, and Murillo was among the administrators who would be required to reapply for her job.

District spokeswoman Natalie Allen said the reorganization was a routine action after a new superintendent is hired.

The reorganization plan came three months after the district announced it had scored at full accreditation level on the state-issued report that measures progress in several performance areas, including how well students did on standardized tests.

Kansas City Public Schools, which is provisionally accredited, had struggled to lift student scores on standardized state tests, attendance and graduation rates for years. The district, which serves about 14,500 students, has also suffered from shrinking enrollment.

While the district hit the mark for full accreditation last year, state officials have said a district has to maintain performance at that level or higher for at least another year before full accreditation is considered.

Murillo may well be gone from the district before she has to reapply in July for her job.

Arthur, the Council Bluffs board president, said that improving student achievement has been a priority for his district.

In a notice on the district website he said he expects the board to approve hiring Murillo. If she accepts the position, she would start July 1.

Arthur said the district cast a broad net looking for a new superintendent. Murillo was selected from a list of a dozen candidates among which five became finalists.

Improving student achievement has been a priority for Council Bluffs, Arthur said. Murillo initiated career and technical education programs in Kansas City while overseeing other academic and federally supported programs, he said.

“I am extremely excited and honored to be selected for this potential opportunity,” Murillo said.. “Council Bluffs is a wonderful school system and I look forward to utilizing the skills I have gleaned in KCPS to further serve Council Bluffs’ students, families and community.”

Mará Rose Williams: 816-234-4419, @marawilliamskc