2 local educators named finalists for 2023 Kansas Superintendent of the Year
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Two local superintendents have been named finalists for Kansas’ 2023 Superintendent of the Year.
The Kansas School Superintendents’ Association said Wednesday, Sept. 21, that it has named three outstanding superintendents as finalists for Kansas’ 2023 Superintendent of the Year.
KSSA said the finalists are Dr. Tiffany Anderson, $501, Dr. Michael Argabright, $252, and Dr. Alicia Thompson, $259.
The Association said Anderson is the superintendent of Topeka Public School District 501 USD and has served in that role since July 2016. His district serves more than 13,000 students and represents an incredibly diverse population. In 2021, he said more than 77% of students attending the district qualified for the federal school lunch program.
In 2018, KSSA said TPS opened the region’s only Advanced Career Center program – the Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers. He said TPS is also home to the Kanza Science and Education Park – the largest science park in the region.
KSSA noted that TPS has won five Magna Awards, three of which were awarded under Anderson’s leadership. It also received the first National Magna Award for its K-12 Dual Language program – making it the best in the country. TPS also won the District of Distinction in 2015 and 2018.
According to the Association, Argabright has been the Superintendent of Schools for Southern Lyon County $252 since July 2006. He said the district encompasses 295 square miles of Southern Lyon Co.
KSSA said the four $252 attendance centers are in rural areas with socio-economic status ranging from 10% to 80% free meals. The district has also been honored with Governor’s Awards, Best High School in America, Kansas School of Character, Standard of Excellence, Kansans Can Star Awards, and multiple state championships over the past 17 years.
KSSA noted that academic achievement continues to guide Southern Lyon Co.’s vision with shared values around extracurricular opportunities and achievement. The district is proud of the continued growth of its STEM programs, greenhouse/gardening operations, drone technology, and early education programs. It has also successfully passed bond elections for the past three decades, with the most recent construction completed in 2020.
Finally, KSSA said Thompson has been with the Wichita School District throughout his education career. She started as an administrator in 1994 and held various administrative positions until she was named superintendent in 2017. As the largest district in the state, US$259 serves more than 47,000 students and educates approximately 10% of all public schools in the state.
KSSA noted that the Wichita District is diverse with more than 100 languages spoken in student homes. Over 70% of students also come from economically disadvantaged homes.
Since Thompson took the helm, KSSA said the $259 graduation rate has increased 5.4 percentage points and students are now earning more than 2,000 industry-recognized degrees each year.
In June, KSSA said 16 statewide sunflower superintendents were nominated by their peers for the award. He said 10 of them completed the rigorous application process – including answering four essay-style questions as well as a home video.
KSSA said the nominations were reviewed and scored by its committee and over the next two weeks, each finalist will be interviewed by a committee made up of former Kansas superintendents of the year.
The Association noted that Kansas’ 2023 Superintendent of the Year will be announced Oct. 11 live on its Facebook page.
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