Letter to the Editor

Under superintendent's

Thursday, January 19, 2006

watch SW has thrived

Dear Editor:

It has been my privilege to work beside Richard Asbill these past three years. He is, without any doubt, the most incredible and visionary minded superintendent I have ever worked for in my 24-year career at four other school districts across the nation.

This (Richard's resignation) is a huge loss for this district and so many have been led to think otherwise. It truly is a shame and another example of his ongoing quest to make Southwest R-V School District great. Southwest R-V School District has accomplished so much under his watch and leadership. It is not surprising that he has resigned so that Southwest R-V School District can continue to advance and get out of this stalemate of basis opinions and attitudes. Unfortunately, without his leadership, this district will have to pause and regroup at a time when we should just keep on rolling and improving.

In 2002, Southwest R-V School District had dropped to a very low 61 APR score with the Missouri Department of Secondary and Elementary Education. This score was based upon programs, attendance, core data and student achievement rates from the previous year. To bring this into perspective, Southwest R-V School District was sitting on "provisional accreditation" from the state. The district had reached the point where we either improved on our own, OR, the state would be stepping in, as they had just done in Niangua and recently in Wellston. In addition, it was at this time that Governor Holden and the legislative powers to be, had broken the news that state funding for public education was going to be cut as much as thirty percent.

Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem entitled "IF", its message is clear. "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you . . . you'll be a Man, my son!" To put it simply, Richard Asbill, kept his head, gave the Board of Education information founded in factual data and allowed the board, who are elected to be stewards of the educational system, to make educated decisions for the sole purpose of moving Southwest R-V School District forward.

The results speak for themselves! In 2003, the score rose to 77, in 2004 -- 84 and 2005 -- 82. With changes and improvements in place throughout the 2005 --06 school year, Southwest R-V School District could score as high as 94 points, dependent upon student achievement on this year's MAP tests. This score moves Southwest from a "D-" educational system in 2002 to a solid "A" in 2006!

One only has to sit down and talk to Richard Asbill, face to face, for a short period of time to recognize he is a man of high values, morals and ethical leadership. He is also a man with high expectations. None of which are higher for anybody else than for himself.

He IS a demanding leader! He expects professional educators to perform their crafts to the highest level possible. Conflicts are impossible to avoid when expectations are great. Those who accept this fact and work together for the good of the whole, enjoy the rewards. Southwest R-V School District has reaped the rewards.

Perhaps the greatest thing I can say about Richard Asbill is in every decision he has made, the protection of education for each and every student at Southwest R-V School District has been the driving force. It is easy to talk that talk, proclaim that fame, make promises to do just that, but, it is incredibly difficult to walk the talk. Richard Asbill has walked the talk for the past four years at Southwest R-V School District.

I am thankful that my first job as a high school principal came under his watch. He has helped me grow as a professional administrator in many ways. He has chewed me when I needed chewed, hugged me when I needed hugged, supported me when it was justified. Above all else he has held me accountable for getting the job done at Southwest High School. For that I am forever thankful and grateful. I would rather work for one man who has the vision of what it ALL can be, than 100 others who just pretend to see it.

I know I probably sound like the Richard Asbill fan club president, and I guess I am. It has been a tremendous three years working beside him. I am a much better person and administrator because he taught me by examples of hard work, high ethics and the need for always keeping student learning first. I could never say "thank you" often or loud enough to do him justice.


Vicki Enyart

Southwest High School principal