Support, encourage, transition

Saturday, November 14, 2020
Monett Interim Superintendent Kent Medlin, left, speaks with district Communication Coordinator Ana Espinoza prior to an administrative meeting on Thursday. Medlin is contracted to the superintendent position through the end of this school year. Kyle Troutman/

Interim superintendent in Monett lays out goals

Monett Interim Superintendent Kent Medlin has three main goals during his tenure for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.

Medlin, who retired in 2017 after serving 13 years as superintendent of Willard School District, was tapped by the Monett Board of Education specifically.

“The school board reached out to me [after the passing of former Superintendent Russ Moreland], and I basically said I’m willing to help in any way they would like me to help,” Medlin said. “I was actively working in Springfield at the time, so I had to take care of some things, but I was willing to have that conversation.”

Medlin met with the board on Nov. 5, and his first day in the office was Monday. He said his focus is on support, encouragement and making the transition to a new superintendent.

“I want to give support to all who need it: kids, teachers, administrators and the board,” he said. “I also want to encourage everyone, and I want to become a part of the administration team to lead them through this transition process.”

Medlin said his first impression upon meeting staff was strong, and he has had interaction with Monett schools before.

“I’ve known this district for a long time, back to when I was Lamar High School principal in 1995,” he said. “I had several staff members there who came to Monett, so I knew the quality of the district well before coming here.”

Medlin said he hopes his experience will help him find success as he finishes out the school year.

“Some things change and some don’t, and on thing that doesn’t is working with people,” he said. “I have been blessed with success in being able to build relationships with people, and I really care about that. I have a little gray hair that points to my life experience, and my 32 years in education.”

Medlin said one of the things he is enjoying most about Monett is how great the people are.

“I know one thing — there are a lot of good people here,” he said. “They care deeply for the school and for their colleagues. I want to thank the board and the staff for welcoming me with arms wide open. They have bent over backward.”

Medlin said a large part of his role in coming months is to help the district find his replacement.

“I am retired and am not applying for the job,” he said. “I am contracted out to finish this year. A major piece of that is the transition and identifying and selecting a new superintendent.”

Medlin’s career in education includes service to Springfield Public Schools as a chemistry teacher and administrator, as well as principal in the Lamar and Willard school districts.

Following retirement, he worked as the director of operations for the Missouri Educators’ Trust and as an education team facilitator for Paragon Architecture. Most recently, Medlin has served as an interim administrator for Springfield Public Schools, including as co-deputy superintendent of academics. He received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in education from Missouri State University, and a doctorate in education from the University of Arkansas.

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