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Normandy Superintendent Announces Retirement

District to begin Superintendent search, systems evaluation, & strategic planning process for 2020-2021

NORMANDY, MO -- Normandy Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles J. Pearson has announced that he will retire at the end of the 2020-2021 school year. A search will begin immediately for his successor.

     “One of the reasons Normandy has made progress in the last five years is our superintendent, who has been a stabilizing, yet visionary, force within and outside of the district,” said Sara Foster, President, Normandy Joint Executive Governing Board (JEGB). “Dr. Pearson has established sound and achievable goals for us to work toward and has guided us through immense change.”

      Pearson was initially appointed to the Normandy Schools Collaborative JEGB in 2014. He would later serve as interim superintendent for the district, and in 2015, he was selected to serve in the role on a permanent basis. Under Pearson’s leadership, the district saw improvement in student academic scores and a decrease in out-of-school suspensions. In 2017, the Missouri Board of Education unanimously voted to grant provisional accreditation to the district. During his tenure, Normandy also reconfigured its elementary schools, moving from grades 1-6, to grades 1-8 or “EleMiddle” model. The district eliminated its middle school and in 2019, opened a new Early Learning Center for students in pre-school, pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten.

     The JEGB will begin the search for Pearson’s replacement immediately. Once a successor is chosen, Pearson may continue to serve the district in an advisory role.

     Concurrently with the superintendent’s search will be an external review of the district’s schools, and a strategic planning process. The external review and strategic planning processes will be led by external firm Attuned Education Partners.

      “In my experience with leading teams and implementing change, I’ve learned that it is sometimes helpful to bring in support from others who have expertise with the work, but who are not as close to the day-to-day efforts, to gain a new perspective that will help clarify a path forward,” said Foster, who is also an Executive Vice President with Commerce Bank. “After conversations with other districts, both locally and nationally, our Executive Leadership Team and the JEGB have agreed to partner with Attuned Education Partners to lead a comprehensive review of our schools.”

     Attuned will conduct a 360-degree review of the district to assist school and district leaders come to a comprehensive and shared understanding of how to move the district to the next level. Based on these insights, Attuned will then help lead a district-wide strategic planning process that will be implemented for the 2020-2021 school year.

    “It is very important to the Board and district leadership that these processes start with hearing from our entire Normandy community, including students and families, teachers, community partners, and all district staff,” said Foster, who is also a Normandy graduate. “We will hold a series of engagement sessions in the coming months to gain feedback from all of our stakeholders.”

     With the district beginning the search for a new Superintendent immediately, the plan is that this new leader will be a part of the initial stages of the strategic planning process and responsible for implementation of that plan. Just as important is feedback from Normandy’s critical stakeholders: students and families, staff, and members of the community.

     “We will reach out to our stakeholders in a variety of ways to get their feedback on these critical decisions,” said Foster. 

     The district plans to hold several public meetings, in addition to using email, surveys, and other electronic methods to get feedback on the upcoming plans and developments. Information will also be posted on the district’s website, www.normandysc.org, and social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram). The next public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11 at Barack Obama School, 3883 Jennings Station Road.

     As Normandy begins the processes of external review, strategic planning for the 2020-2021 school year, and the search for a new Superintendent, the Board and Executive Leadership will work collaboratively to manage this change process, but the focus on academic achievement will remain the top priority.

     “In our buildings, teachers and staff will continue to work on raising student achievement, with the goal of every child at or above grade level by third grade,” Foster said. “The focus of the district will remain on effective instruction and improving student outcomes.”