From super to admin

After 29 years in education, mostly at the Cassville school district, Richard Asbill is excited to return home.

The current superintendent of the Bolivar school district, Asbill is set to retire on June 30 and assume an entirely new role — but with a similar skillset — replacing City Administrator Steve Walensky on July 1.

After deciding to retire from education, Asbill said he and his wife, Kari, were discussing their future steps when he heard Walensky was going to retire.

“I felt we should see what happens, so I called the mayor, [Bill Shiveley], and asked what they were looking for,” Asbill said. “We felt this was a door God was opening for us because we know Cassville and have so many friends, neighbors and businesspeople. It’s a good opportunity to use our gifts and connections to benefit the city.”

Though running a school district is different from running a city, Asbill said his history in Cassville is one of his biggest positives coming in.

“Knowing the city’s history with economic development and what is really important to people will help,” he said. “Roaring River and tourism is a good connection I can help with, and I believe my fiscal awareness is important to ensuring the taxpayers’ resources are used wisely. I feel the Cassville Board of Education and city aldermen have been good stewards of taxpayer dollars. When I was growing up in administration, I had many mentors in Cassville who understand fiscal responsibility and transparency.

“I may not be a native, but I have been involved in Cassville since 1994 and when you talk about its history and its future, I think I have a good idea what patrons of the area hold as priorities. That will make it a quicker transition.”

Another benefit Asbill brings, he said, is experience in managing employees.

“I have been fortunate to be part of two large employers, and that will help me work with city employees and stakeholders,” he said. “As a school superintendent, you always have to be accessible and aware of what stakeholders’ concerns are and what does or does not need addressed.”

Asbill will join the city’s staff around the time the city’s new public works facility is completed, and he has already begun the transition process and learning about other city facilities and projects.

“The public works facility is in good hands, and I have visited the sewer treatment plant,” he said. “One of the city’s challenges will be transitioning away from federal money [such as American Rescue Plan Act funds]. Cassville has done a good job investing that money wisely for a lasting impact.

“Any time you talk about Cassville, you have to ask where you are and where you want to be in business, economy and tourism. You have to have a good plan for where you want to be in 3-5 years.”

Asbill said leading up to his July 1 start, he has been working with city clerk Cherry Bailey to be prepared for upcoming projects and bids.

“I’m excited to join the city and work with so many friends and neighbors I have known for so many years and respect greatly,” he said. “I hope to join them in their good work.”

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