Rick Simoncic has filled a number of roles within the educational system since graduating from Frontenac High School in 1982. Now, the Raider alum has returned to his home district as superintendent of USD 249.
Rick Simoncic has filled a number of roles within the educational system since graduating from Frontenac High School in 1982.
Now, the Raider alum has returned to his home district as superintendent of USD 249.
After a couple weeks on the job, Simoncic said he is excited about the accomplishments of the districts and the challenges the job will offer.
Simoncic said Frontenac is a district that already is doing well, and he looks forward to continuing to seek ways to improve.
"They have high test scores here, but they can be even higher," Simoncic said.
"Don't be satisfied with where you are at. There's always room to get better," he said, adding that that is true in terms of test scores, budget considerations, communication and other areas.
He said one major change for him in Frontenac will be the ability to be so close to the classrooms.
In his previous job, as superintendent of USD 233 Barnes-Hanover-Linn in Northeast Kansas, the two school buildings were 27 miles apart.
"It's all right here now," he said. "That's going to be nice."
"I enjoy getting out in the classrooms and walking around and visiting with staff," he said.
Simoncic said one of his goals, which will be aided by being so close, will be the implementation of power walk-throughs, which will be 5-minute walk-throughs of classrooms at different times and during different classes, with results transferred to data that will help direct future professional development for staff members.
Another goal is looking more deeply at the district's finances.
The district levied a mill of 47.756 for 2013, and Simoncic said his goal is to hold the line on the mill levy, but to consider how to be even more efficient with spending with the funds that levy raises while addressing some major projects, including a leaky roof and problems with the track.
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"We've got to get spending under control," he said. "We need to prioritize."
Communication is another of his key goals, including keeping lines of communication open with board members, staff, teachers and the public through visibility, Web site communication and more.
"I want teachers to put their class information, syllabus and class schedules out there on the Web site," he said as an example.
"Whatever's going well, we want to sell ourselves."
Simoncic summed up his overall goal as, "striving to get better at all times."
"No matter who you are, as a coach or teacher, you can always get better," he said.
This has been true for him personally as he has worked his way from teacher and coach to superintendent in the educational system.
Simoncic attended Pittsburg State University following high school and began work just across the state line.
"I started my teaching career in Lamar, Mo., teaching math," Simoncic said, adding that he also coached three sports in that location.
His next stop was back in Crawford County, where he taught and coached football and girl's basketball at Southeast High School in Cherokee.
From there, Simoncic spent several years each in Larned and Barnes-Hanover-Linn, where he took on several administrative roles.
Simoncic started as a math teacher and girls' basketball head coach in Larned, then spent time in several different administrative roles, including athletics director, assistant principal and principal.
He was hired as the superintendent at Barnes-Hanover-Linn in 2009, and said the situation there was good enough that he had to think for a bit before applying to return to Frontenac.
"I was in a good school system," Simoncic said. "It was a good situation."
Page 3 of 3 - He said that, when Frontenac opened, he had to think the opening over before deciding to go for it.
"At the time, I wasn't sure if I was going to apply or not," he said.
Some encouragement from his home community helped with that consideration.
"I had people call and encourage me to apply," Simoncic said.