Interim superintendent on the job
Interim superintendent Ron Wimmer hit the ground running Monday.
Wimmer visited nine of De Soto USD 232’s 11 schools, met administrators and staff, and was briefed on the confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus at Riverview Elementary.
A retired superintendent who led Olathe USD 233 for 14 years, Wimmer became the district’s interim superintendent on Monday.
During a special meeting Thursday, the USD 232 Board of Education unanimously approved Wimmer’s appointment as superintendent. His first day on the job was Monday.
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 is still be under contract until June 30, she will work from home and aid in the transition as needed, said Alvie Cater, the district’s community relations director.
Wimmer will serve as the main point of contact with Zoellner during the transition, Cater said.
As of Monday afternoon, Wimmer had yet to make contact with Zoellner.
Wimmer said he was looking forward to working with Zoellner throughout the transition.
The interim superintendent also contacted the Board of Education members, including incoming member Tammy Thomas, to invite them to individual meetings.
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.”
Wimmer’s experience in assessing administrative needs of the district will be invaluable to the search for a permanent superintendent, Meyer said.
At its May 4 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 and culminated with the announcement of Wimmer’s hiring.
“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,” Wimmer was quoted as saying in the news release. “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.”
During his 14 years in Olathe, 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.
Wimmer’s contract with USD 232 calls for him to receive a rate of $634 per day for each day worked from May 11 to June 30. Beginning July 1, Wimmer will receive an annual 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 annual leave, as well as sick time. The contract also states that Wimmer will receive $16,000 toward an annuity of his choice or required by the board.