De Soto Board names interim superintendent
A retired superintendent who led Olathe USD 233 for 14 years will become the interim superintendent of De Soto USD 232 next week. During a special meeting Thursday, the USD 232 Board of Education unanimously approved the appointment of Ron Wimmer as superintendent.
Wimmer will take over full responsibility of the district effective Monday.
According to Wimmer’s contract with the district, he will receive a per diem rate of $634 per day for each day worked from May 11 to June 30. Beginning July 1, Wimmer will receive a base salary of $166,000, along with a $500 per month for health and dental coverage, according to the contract.
Wimmer is entitled to 25 days of leave, as well as sick time. The contract also states that Wimmer will receive $16,000 towards an annuity of his choice or required by the Board.
Superintendent Sharon Zoellener resigned from her post April 24. Later that same day Zoellner's hiring as superintendent for Louisburg USD 416 was announced.
While Zoellner will still be under contract until June 30, she will work from home and aid in the transition as needed, said Cater.
Wimmer will serve as the main point of contact with Zoellner during the transition, Cater said.
Board president Larry Meyer said the decision to hire Wimmer as interim superintendent came after several board conversations in which Wimmer’s name had been mentioned.
“I think what the board was looking for was someone who was a proven leader, who also had ties to the area and someone who had the experience of managing a district with large growth in a short period of time,” Meyer said.
Having someone with Dr. Wimmer’s experience and quality to help in the transition to a permanent superintendent is the right way for the district to go, Meyer said.
“All of the decisions the board has made have been at the best interest of the district,” he said. “I am just extremely excited for the district to have someone with the proven leadership that Dr. Wimmer has. I think that it is certainly the right direction for the district to go as we transition to a permanent superintendent.”
Dr. Wimmer’s experience in assessing administrative needs of the district will be invaluable to the search for a permanent superintendent, Meyer said.
At Monday’s Board of Education meeting, the Board approved a recommendation to conduct contract negotiations for an interim superintendent.
At the same meeting the board called a special meeting for Thursday to discuss non-elected personnel. Thursday’s meeting lasted roughly 20 minutes.
“On behalf of the Board of Education, we are honored to have Ron Wimmer step in and provide accomplished and strategic leadership for our school system,” Don Clark, the board's vice president, said in a news release. “He brings significant experience to our community at a time when it is needed most. He is more than capable of moving us forward to do what is best for students and teachers and for all who support public education.”
According to the release, Wimmer will serve as interim as the board searches for a permanent superintendent.
“The path the Board is taking demonstrates the best interests of the district. My role as interim superintendent will be to assist the Board with the search process, while at the same time closing the gap between where the district is now and where it wants to be in the future.”
Wimmer served as superintendent in the Olathe School District for 14 years before retiring in 2005.
During that time enrollment grew by nearly 600 students a year, making Olathe the third largest district in the state. The De Soto District has experienced similar grow, increasing enrollment by more than 1,000 in the last three years.
Cater said Wimmer will report to the district at 7:30 a.m., Monday. He will then meet with as many staff as possible Monday and Tuesday. He plans to visit all district schools in that time.