Lewis Diuguid

KC school board makes right choice for interim superintendent

Allan Tunis, chief financial officer with Kansas City Public Schools, was named by the school board as interim superintendent of the district.
Allan Tunis, chief financial officer with Kansas City Public Schools, was named by the school board as interim superintendent of the district. .

The Kansas City school board couldn’t have picked a better interim superintendent than Allan Tunis to continue the stability and academic progress that Steve Green forged over four years in the district’s top job.

The board announced Thursday that it had picked Tunis, the district’s chief financial officer since 2011. Superintendent Steve Green, who seated with the school board at its meeting Wednesday night, is leaving Kansas City Public Schools to take the top job in the DeKalb County School District in the Atlanta area.

The school board picked Ray and Associates to lead the search for a permanent superintendent. A time line handed out at the Wednesday night school board meeting at Central Academy of Excellence indicates that a permanent superintendent might not be seated until the late spring of 2016.

That’s good because the board shouldn’t rush to pick a permanent replacement, risking mistakes of the past with curriculum changes, instability and high turnover.

School board President Jon Hile said in a prepared release that Tunis will enable the district to stay on the path to full accreditation. The district, which lost accreditation in 2012 and was under threat of state takeover, received provisional accreditation in 2014. Officials hope to be eligible for full accreditation this year.

Tunis started his career in education in 1973, teaching science and coordinating the science program for Rochester Community Schools in Rochester, Mich. He has been in the Kansas City area since 1978 when he took a principal’s job in the Park Hill School District. He also has served 10 years as an administrator for Metropolitan Community College.

Under Tunis, Kansas City Public Schools has had balanced budgets for four consecutive years and clean audits for three years in a row with credit reviews going from A to A plus. He has consistently provided clean and clear answers to questions at board and community meetings.

Other members of Green’s leadership team will work under Tunis to continue the work that Green started. They are:

Vickie Murillo, chief academic and accountability officer.

Darryl Meyer, chief operations officer.

Ray Sousley, chief legal counsel.

Eileen Houston-Stewart, chief communications and community engagement officer .

Lewis Gowin, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction (retires June 30, 2015).

Trinity Davis, director of curriculum and instruction (will assume the Asst. Supt. Curriculum & Instruction position on July 1).

Derald Davis, assistant superintendent, school leadership.

Tonia Gilbert, executive director, student support and community services.

Luis Cordoba, executive director, student interventions.

Tom Brenneman, executive director, information technology.

With these folks’ efforts, Kansas City Public Schools, its students and the community should be in good hands.