Walker to resign from Southwest in 2016

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

High School Principal Tosha Watson to take place

After serving seven years, Southwest School Superintendent Bob Walker said he will be resigning from his position as superintendent of the district effective June 30, 2016.

Southwest High School Principal Tosha Watson will be taking his place July 1, 2016. After many years in education, Walker said he felt it was time.

"Things are going well here at Southwest," he said. "After 37 years in education, I'm not sure what I will be doing. I'll start looking at different things and see what's in store. I've been discussing it and it just seems to be a good time.

"That will give Tosha and our board plenty of time to start looking at principal candidates. I think Southwest is a phenomenal place, and securing a future here is something Tosha will certainly be able to do. Not to mention, I think she has a great skill-set, is ready to be a superintendent and certainly qualified to do so. So, I expect great things from her. The future of the district is in good hands."

Walker credited the school board for supporting him in his role.

"We've had an absolutely very supportive board since I've been here, and they continue to be," he said. "So, it's been a good situation for me, and all the more reason to do everything I can to ensure it will be in good hands. So, I'm very pleased the board has made the decision to promote Tosha in that position."

Walker moved to Missouri from Oklahoma, and served 18 of his 37 years in education as a superintendent, in addition to years spent teaching, coaching, serving as an assistant principal and a vice president of a junior college.

"I had retired out of the Oklahoma teacher's system there," he said. "I knew I wanted to go to another state and continue to work and Southwest afforded me that opportunity, and it's been a good situation for me."

Walker said he felt good about his time at Southwest, but was reluctant to take credit for any accomplishments, instead praising the combined efforts of staff.

"We have some excellent folks," he said. "Any superintendent would tell you that the job we're able to do is directly dependent on the quality of work everyone else is doing. [The staff works] hard and is committed to serving kids. That's the whole key. I'm one of these guys that there's no 'I' in team, and that's been the case here. It's been a team effort.

"I'm very pleased in several areas. One of the things I'm proud of is that we're much better instructionally. That's been a real area of growth. And, I think we've made some improvements with our facilities. And of course, I continue to be so proud of our students. They're what makes this place as special as it is. Some of them have a lot of challenges, but they continue to excel. We've got a lot of good folks in place that serve them effectively. All of our folks in the seven years since I've been here have done a really good job."

Watson, who will be stepping into the role of superintendent after Walker leaves, has served as high school principal for the district for five years. Watson is a Seligman native and Southwest graduate, and she attended the district from kindergarten through 12th grade.

"I left for 22 years, then I was a teacher for nine years, a curriculum director for one year at Carl Junction, then served two years as high school assistant principal and athletic director at Seneca, then principal for five years," she said.

Watson, who holds a specialist of education and is certified as a superintendent, said her work at Seneca gave her a lot of experience at the district-level for her future role of superintendent, but she was happy to come home.

"I was blessed to move home and be high school principal for five years at Southwest," she said. "I'm very embedded into the community and the school system. My entire family is from the Seligman area, so we have a long history here.

"It's my goal to keep moving this district forward so that we will be known as one of the best districts in the area, and even in the state."

Watson said Southwest sometimes does not get the credit it deserves for the type of district it truly is.

"We offer more at our high school than most schools around, and our elementary and middle school are on the cutting-edge of their curriculum and academics," she said. "I just want to get the word out that it is a great district and that people should want to be here."

Watson praised Walker for his work as superintendent.

"Mr. Walker has done a phenomenal job here," she said. "I just want to take the goals he has set and move forward, and continue with some other plans, such as five-year plans, but otherwise plan to continue the improvement of this district. I'm very excited about this opportunity and very thankful and blessed that it's at my homeschool."

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