The Blue Valley school district searched across the nation for a new superintendent and ended up hiring a guy who had been sitting in its main office for nearly a year.
Todd E. White, who retired from the North Kansas City school district last June and has been serving since then in the Blue Valley district as an assistant superintendent, was named Tuesday as Blue Valley’s new superintendent.
The Blue Valley school board voted unanimously to appoint White as the seventh superintendent in the district’s 50-year history. He begins his new duties July 1.
At a Tuesday morning special school board meeting where White was named, he talked about a “shared focus and collaborative spirit” among the Blue Valley staff, students, board and community.
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“The synergy that is present today in Blue Valley is a tribute to the past and is the key to student success in the future,” White said.
The Blue Valley district is one of the largest in the Kansas City area, with 22,648 students in preschool through 12th grade.
The estimated $24,000 national search for a new superintendent began after Tom Trigg accepted a similar position in Texas. Trigg had served the Blue Valley district for 11 years. Deputy superintendent Al Hanna was named interim superintendent.
Board president Mike Seitz said White had been hired as an assistant superintendent before Trigg announced he was leaving. And while White had two other superintendent jobs in his resume, Seitz said White hadn’t been with the Blue Valley district long enough for board members to know whether he was the man for the job.
“There is only so much you can know in nine months,” Seitz said, adding, “We didn’t even know that Dr. White would apply for the position.”
Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates led the national search process, which included input from more than 1,100 students, parents, staff members and community members.
“I think due diligence is required to find the best candidate,” Seitz said. “Dr. White turned out to be the best candidate.”
The district received 30 applications for the position and narrowed the search to five candidates who were interviewed by the board. Seitz said the board would have picked White even if he had applied from across the country.
His three-year deal pays a $230,000 annual salary, with a potential $25,000 a year more in merit pay.
Trigg was paid $236,000 a year with $20,000 in annual merit pay. White also gets the district’s standard car and cellphone allowances.
White had led the North Kansas City district for six years and oversaw the implementation of an Apple computing program for high school students there.
He was instrumental in kicking off the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies, a collaboration of seven districts north of the river, and made partnerships with Northland businesses and municipalities a priority in his district.
A prime example of those partnerships is the Northland Innovation Center, which soon will be home to the North Kansas City district’s gifted programs. That effort resulted from collaboration between the city of Gladstone and the district.
His career as an educational leader spans three decades and includes about seven years as superintendent of the Harrisonville school district. The Missouri Association of School Administrators named him the Missouri Superintendent of the Year in 2015 and Outstanding Superintendent in 2013.
White was also named the 2015 Missouri Interscholastic Press Association Administrator of the Year for providing outstanding service to journalism.
White has three children and three grandchildren.
A reception is planned for Feb. 24 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Hilltop Conference Center, 7700 W. 143rd St. in Overland Park. The reception is open to the public.