Wheaton R-III School District Superintendent Jim Cummins has been selected as the Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA) Southwest Region New Superintendent of the Year.
"I believe (Jim Cummins) is highly deserving of this recognition," said Gary Reed, Carthage R-9 School District superintendent, who serves as the southwest region's representative on the MASA executive committee.
Cummins began serving as Wheaton R-III School District superintendent in 2005. Over the last three years, Wheaton has achieved several goals that led MASA members to select him for this year's award.
According to a statement released by MASA, under Cummins' leadership, the Wheaton School District doubled the number of standards met during its fourth cycle MSIP review, increased teacher pay to a competitive level, enhanced the district's technology capabilities and increased cash reserves.
"We have become fully accredited, and we are looking at what we can do to get the district labeled as a school of distinction," said Cummins. "The overall community passed Proposition C and a bond issue that has given us the opportunity to expand our programs and opportunities for students.
"The staff is working to raise student achievement levels, and the students are responding well to their efforts," said Cummins.
Cummins said it is exciting to see the changes and improvements taking place at Wheaton. He credits much of the improvement to his administrative team, faculty and staff, the community, the R-III School Board and Wheaton students.
"Wheaton is small enough that we are able to see changes taking place," said Cummins. "It doesn't take a long period of time to see the impacts of programs, but more than that it is the people who make Wheaton an enjoyable place to work."
Although Cummins' leadership has helped the district achieve several goals already, Wheaton continues to work on improving student success at all levels.
"We are starting on our next comprehensive school improvement master plan,"?said Cummins. "Our number one goal is to continue to raise student achievement levels to reach the distinction level. We will also continue to look for the best way to meet some continued facility needs. We have a lot of ideas, and as soon as we get the vocational building going, we will look at one or more projects to address some other issues."
Prior to joining Wheaton's administrative team, Cummins spent five years teaching business education and coaching at Neosho High School and one year as Diamond High School principal. His background also includes professional experience in business.
Cummins' educational background includes: a bachelor of science in finance from Southwest Missouri State University; a bachelor of science in education from Missouri Southern State College; a master's degree in Secondary Administration from William Woods University; and a specialist degree in education from William Woods University. He hopes to complete a doctoral program at the University of Missouri this spring.
Each New Superintendent of the Year nominee must be a practicing superintendent in the second or third year of employment who has never served as a superintendent of schools in another state.