Purdy hires superintendent

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Dr. Steven Chancelor

The Purdy R-2 Board of Education hired Dr. Steven Chancelor as the district's new superintendent, succeeding Jerry Lingo, who is retiring. Chancelor was selected during the Monday board meeting and came to Purdy on Tuesday to sign the contract.

Purdy board members received applications from 15 candidates screened for the district by the Missouri School Boards Association. Five candidates were interviewed during special board meetings on Feb. 15 and Feb. 16.

Board President Randy Henderson said the board wanted someone who would be comfortable in a small town.

Chancelor, 32, has worked for five years as the director of technology for the Belton School District #124 outside of Kansas City. Prior to that, he worked as an instructional coach for teachers and taught business in alternative education classes.

A graduate of the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Chancelor received his master's degree in education from William Woods University and his doctorate from St. Louis University in 2009. He and his wife, Jillayne, have three children under the age of 4.

"I grew up in Smithton, a town that's smaller than Purdy, but the school district is the same size," Chancelor said. "The school in Purdy feels like the same building. My family raised chickens for Tyson Foods. Before the Tyson plant opened in Sedalia, we got our chickens from Monett, so I have roots in the area."

Chancelor said he was looking carefully for the right town to start his career as an administrator.

"We were very much looking for the right situation," Chancelor said. "The big city is not for us. We were looking for a place where our children could have a similar experience to what I had, where values are still taught, and they could be rooted in a small community."

Chancelor said he wanted to get settled before his children started in a school district.

"I'd like to stay a while," Chancelor said. "I don't believe it's good for my kids to move every few years. It's rare when timing and opportunity intersect."

Chancelor said he found the school board very committed. From his conversations and communications through email, he said the board seemed interested in doing what's best for students.

"They are committed to the journey, in finding long-term success for the generation down the road," Chancelor said. "They're making good decisions to have a school like this. It's reassuring to see a cohesive unit, and they're real interested in doing the right things."

Chancelor said he wants to see the district prepare students to go out into the world by trying new methods to accomplish that goal. Like other disciplines, education is changing, and he said it will be intriguing to look back in 20 years to see how teaching was done today and how new approaches develop with time.

Chancelor has a house to sell but plans to immediately look for a house to buy in the area.

Other finalists interviewed by the school board included Charles Brown, of Piedmont, Tony Berry, of Branson, Susan King, of Troy, Kan., and David Mareth, of Purdy.

In other personnel action, the board extended contracts to all three principals for another year. Elementary Principal Jeff Swadley, Middle School Principal Janet Boys and High School Principal Bob Vice were all rehired.

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