PITTSBURG — During Thursday night’s special meeting of the Pittsburg Community Schools Board of Education, the Board agreed to authorize Ray & Associates to negotiate a contract with Richard Proffitt as the new superintendent of schools for the District. The contract will be voted on for approval at the regularly scheduled March 26 board meeting.

“We arrived here today following a thorough nationwide search based upon stakeholder input, which provided a very strong candidate pool,” Board President Marlene Willis said. “Ultimately Rich goes to the top of that pool.

“His strengths and ideals align with the candidate profile that the community helped create — in short, he ticks all the boxes.”

She said the district looks forward to building onto their current successes and are excited for the opportunities to come under Proffitt’s leadership.

Proffitt is currently the Superintendent of Schools at USD 413 Chanute Public Schools.  
“Learning about it [Chanute] intrigued me, and poured in more interest of the area, then I heard about the opportunities here which are tremendous,” Proffitt said during a meet and greet on Thursday.
Before going to Chanute he was the superintendent of USD 306 Southeast of Saline where he served for four years. Proffitt is in his 27th year in education.
According to a release from the district, through feedback sessions early in the search process, the community asked for a leader who will collaborate with a variety of stakeholders including parents, business, city, county, and state to maximize educational opportunities. It was also made clear that a strong candidate will be student-focused and have the ability to advocate for our students at the local, state, and, national level.
In the release the district said Proffitt brings a strong background in advocacy with state and regional educational organizations and he has held multiple leadership positions and is the chair-elect of the Kansas Council of Superintendents.  He believes it is important to bring the appropriate resources to students so they can achieve success, the release read.
Working with Ray & Associates, a school administrative-hiring consultant, the Board conducted a national search and received 38 applicants from multiple states. The process began in December after Superintendent Destry Brown announced his plan for retirement effective at the end of June.
“Pittsburg as a community is seeing a renewed energy, innovation, and growth,” Willis said in the release. “Community feedback during the search showed an expectation for commitment to innovation, energy, and growth from Pittsburg Community Schools.

“It was a difficult decision with two outstanding finalists.”

Willis said the “district prioritizes diverse academic programming, whole-child home, school, and community support connections.

“Rich has a commitment to putting students first and finding ways to help all students succeed,” she said. “He also has a tremendous servant leadership belief that will be pivotal in empowering our teachers, staff, and administrators to move our district forward.”

Proffitt said superintendents learn a lot over the years, especially as education goes through various changes such as Kansas Can through the Kansas Department of Education. Sometimes, he said, these changes are not easily understood, therefore collaboration efforts will need to be made to do, “the right thing for education in schools, but also get everybody in the community on board moving forward together.”

“The lessons on how to get the message out and how get the community involved and really push together to make the schools and community one is the best lessons [as a superintendent],” Proffitt said.   

Proffitt in the release said he looks forward to serving USD 250 Pittsburg Community Schools.
“Pittsburg has an excellent school system with a rich tradition,” Proffitt said. “There are multiple opportunities to work with the community to help make it even better.
“My family is very excited about coming to Pittsburg.”
Upon approval, Proffitt will begin his contract on July 1.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.