From the schools to the greater community, Paul Mensching, the incoming superintendent for the Harrisonville School District, believes building relationships is essential to building a successful school district.
“A big part of this role is getting to know the staff, students and community, so you can help the children be the most successful they can be,” Mensching said. “You need to spend as much time with teachers and students as possible. You need to see them with their students, whether it’s lunch, in concerts or in the classroom.
“It’s knowing the kids and the staff. You have to get out of the office and be with them.”
The Harrisonville Schools Board of Education announced Mensching’s hiring last week, and he steps into the new job on July 1. As the district’s top administrator, Mensching will oversee the education process for more than 2,400 students and nearly 400 staff in the district’s six schools.
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From teaching to administration, Mensching brings more than 30 years of education experience to the table, including 10 years in his current role as the East Buchanan C-1 School District superintendent.
His extensive credentials include a Bachelor of Arts in secondary education and teaching, a Master of Education in educational leadership and administration and an Education Specialist degree in educational leadership and administration. Currently, he’s pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership, which he expects to finish this year.
Mensching was selected from a field of 20 applicants. Beyond the candidates’ credentials, the Harrisonville school board was also looking for a candidate with honesty, integrity, communication skills and fiscal responsibility, said board president Tina Graef.
“The board was impressed with Mr. Mensching’s honesty and character during the interview process,” said Graef. “His strengths in the budgeting process, building relationships and creating a positive culture all made him the right person for us.”
Looking ahead to the new position in Harrisonville, Mensching sees challenges and areas for growth but is excited by both.
“There is room for growth in academics, and I have a strong history of success in that area,” Mensching said. “But we’re in the early phases now.
“Education and academic growth is a human thing. It’s not rigid. You’re dealing with people and lives. You have to look at raw data, but that’s not enough. You have to get in there and get to know the people and community.”
When it comes to community involvement, Mensching plans to include his family as much as possible, and they’re already making plans to volunteer with service organizations in their new community.
“I have four children, and two will be at Harrisonville High School. My family is a big part of my life. When I go to events and meet people, they will see me with my family and learn that I’m a person and dad, too.”