Bill Cowling, an assistant superintendent with the Blue Springs School District, was one of the three finalists recently for the superintendent position in the St. Joseph District. The board of education did not select Cowling for the job, but its pick earlier this week does have local ties – Doug Van Zyl, a former principal in the Independence School District.

Van Zyl, who is in his eighth year as superintendent in Fort Dodge, Iowa, was principal at Sycamore Hills Elementary in Independence 1998-2005 after starting his education career in Texas. He was an assistant superintendent and then superintendent in Harrisonville before taking the Fort Dodge job.

Cowling has been with the Blue Springs District for 25 years, including 10 now as assistant superintendent.