Purdy hires Banwart as high school principal

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

After 2 years at post, Gower resigns for personal reasons

Derek Banwart has been hired as the new principal at Purdy High School for the coming school year, succeeding Matthew Gower, who resigned at the boards January meeting.

Banwart comes to Purdy with five years of administrative experience, most recently as assistant principal at Republic High School. Prior to that, Banwart taught social studies for 10 years. He is married to Andrea Banwart, who served as a counselor at Monett High School from 2003 to 2007 and coached the Pizzazz Poms dance team in its first two years, from 2005 to 2007. The Banwarts have four children, ages 3 to 12.

I am extremely excited about joining the Purdy team, Banwart said. I look forward to being part of a small community where I can get to know all of the students and staff. I hope to maximize my time and experience to help grow the initiatives that are already in place and help the Purdy team continue to increase their educational success in and out of the classroom.

Serving in his first administrative position, Gower resigned after two years, citing personal and family reasons for making a professional change, according to Superintendent Steven Chancellor.

The board selected Banwart after receiving 22 applications and interviewing seven.

It was a good pool to select from, Chancellor said. I feel very good about our selection. He has administrative experience, and I think he will do a good job.

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