• New administrators coming on board in Independence

  • The announcement of Superintendent Jim Hinson's departure from the Independence School District and of Dale Herl taking his place this summer are still fresh in the minds of district residents.

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  • The announcement of Superintendent Jim Hinson's departure from the Independence School District and of Dale Herl taking his place this summer are still fresh in the minds of district residents.
    Now, with the 2012-13 school year almost finished, even more administrative changes have been made.
    Among those are a new deputy superintendent and assistant superintendent for secondary education.
    Lance Stout will become deputy superintendent this summer, taking the position currently held by Herl. He has been in the Liberal (Kan.) School District for 21 years and has been involved with the implementation of several programs that have helped state assessment scores to rise.
    Another venture Stout has been involved with is the implementation of a truancy court system. The venture is a cooperative effort with the city and county. He and his wife have three sons, two in college and one in eighth grade.
    "This has been a work in progress, but we have seen many students turn their lives around as a result of the truancy court system that has been implemented," he said. "The (Independence) community seems to be very friendly and welcoming, and my family was really impressed with the great people that we have met."
    Brad MacLaughlin will join the district as assistant superintendent for secondary education. He has been in the Lexington (Mo.) School District for the last 14 years and is currently its superintendent.
    During his time with Lexington, the district has developed a template for marking its progress throughout the year in preparation for the state's latest version of the Missouri School Improvement Plan, MSIP 5. He and his wife have three children.
    "The teachers and administrators I know within the district all speak highly of their schools, students and their community," MacLaughlin said about the Independence School District. "My family and I are excited to be a part of such great team of educators."
    In addition to Stout and MacLaughlin coming on board, there will be several other new faces among the administrative team.
    -- Blake Zachary, director of technology this summer, replaces Gloria Stephenson, who is retiring in June.
    Zachary is coming to Independence from Indiana, where he was most recently the director of technology at South Montgomery Community School Corporation. In that position he created, planned and directed numerous IT projects and educational technology initiatives.
    -- Patti White, assistant director of the early education. She is completing her doctorate through the University of Missouri's Cooperative Education Leadership and Policy Analysis Program. Before moving to the area, White lived in Columbia, Mo., where she taught Title I Preschool for six years.
    -- Wendy Kline, assistant principal at Van Horn High School. Kline has worked in the Independence School District for 11 years in various positions, including teacher, summer school assistant principal and student services coordinator at Van Horn.
    Page 2 of 2 - -- Denise Hastings, assistant principal at William Chrisman. She has been a theater/speech/debate/forensics teacher at Washington High School in Kansas City, Kan., and for almost seven years, she worked for the Kauffman Scholars program as the academic coach for the scholars in high school. Currently, she is an assessment manager for the Kansas City, Kan., School District.
    -- Andrew Unrein, assistant principal at Truman High School. For the last 10 years Unrein has worked as a teacher and coach at Blue Valley High School in Stilwell, Kan. During his tenure, he has been a part of many district initiatives and programs, including the Teacher Leadership Academy, Building Leadership Academy and Common Core Committee.
    -- Jason Morton, assistant principal at Bingham Middle School. He comes to the Independence School District after 14 years in the Fort Osage district, where he has taught high school English for four years and middle school reading for 10 years. In addition, Morton was the district English/language arts instructional facilitator for the past seven years and assistant director of summer school for the past four.
    -- Amanda Drinkwater, assistant principal at Pioneer Ridge Middle School. Drinkwater has been a teacher for 13 years, spending the last decade at William Chrisman.
    -- Greg McGhee, assistant principal of Nowlin Middle School. McGhee is currently a special education teacher at Van Horn High School, along with being the varsity boys soccer coach and assistant boys basketball coach. He previously worked at Imagine Renaissance Academy as an assistant principal and activities director before coming to Van Horn last year.

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