The next superintendent for the Blue Springs School District won't be new at all – to the district or even that role.
Paul Kinder, who retired as the district's superintendent in 2014 and was succeeded by Jim Finley, will rejoin the district this summer as its top leader. Finley, 57, announced last month that he would retire at the end of the 2017-18 school year.
Dale Falck, president of the Board of Education, said the board offered Kinder the job with a three-year contract Thursday and he accepted. The contract will be finalized at a later date.
Falck said the decision to seek out Kinder grew from the board's desire to choose the best superintendent for the district – in this case, one who had been with Blue Springs for 27 years, including 14 as superintendent – but also a little time crunch. Finley's retirement announcement, while perhaps not entirely unexpected, came on some short notice, Falck said.
Finley, like Kinder before him, had been promoted to superintendent from within the administration. Having Kinder in place after Finley allows the board time to identify another such successor or conduct a full search of several months.
“We want to spend time picking a superintendent,” Falck said. “We're giving ourselves lots of time, to not be in a hurry.”
Falck said the board met a couple times since Finley's announcement, he brought the idea of hiring Kinder to the board, and others unanimously agreed. Nobody else was interviewed before Kinder was offered the job, he added.
Kinder could not be reached for comment Friday. After retiring from Blue Springs, the district renamed a middle school after him. Kinder served as interim superintendent for the North Kansas City District for the 2015-16 school year while that district searched to fill a sudden vacancy. In all he has spent 38 years working in education. During Kinder's tenure as superintendent, the district attained 13 years of perfect scores on the state's annual performance report and received voter approval on four bond issues, and he was named 2007 Missouri Superintendent of the Year.
“We need to do the best thing for the district,” Falck said. “We needed a good one, and we know Dr. Kinder is a great superintendent. It should make for a nice, easy flow, and everybody's familiar with him.”
Finley, who had risen from teacher to deputy superintendent in the district before succeeding Kinder, publicly announced his retirement Jan. 23, saying that it was a good time to pursue other interests – not necessarily in education – and that he was leaving the district at its peak performance.