Jim Hinson didn’t want to mark his first day as the new Shawnee Mission School District superintendent alone.
So he celebrated by officially welcoming all 12-month employees in the district to a new school year on Monday morning.
“I just wanted to say thank you for what you do for our kids,” he told them. “I knew I wouldn’t be able to go to each building and look each one of you in the eye, but I know standing here that the lives of Shawnee Mission students are better because of you.”
He also rounded up several employees who have served in the district for more than 30 years and asked them for advice. They encouraged him to enjoy his work, be flexible and care for the students.
Hinson, who spent the last 11 years as the superintendent in Independence, also used the meeting as an opportunity to introduce himself to the staff members.
He showed photos of his wife, three kids and grandchildren. He provided insight into his goals as a leader.
“I believe in teamwork,” he said. “There isn’t anyone in this room who works for me — we work together. We’re going to combat issues from different perspectives and that’s what makes us strong.”
The way to work together, he added, is open communication.
He encouraged staff members to e-mail him with any questions or concerns. Later this month, all employees will be sent a survey to provide an input or insight they have about the school district.
“I’m going to warn you, my standards are really high,” he told the audience. “Our children deserve the best.”