It was announced Monday that Smithton Schools Superintendent Matt Teeter will be leaving the district at the end of the school year.
According to a news release, Teeter has been selected as the new Willard Schools superintendent beginning with the 2017-18 school year, replacing long-time Superintendent Dr. Kent Medlin, who is retiring at the end of this school year after 14 years.
“It started in August, my mentor is the superintendent in Nixa (near Willard) and he encouraged me to apply, he thought it would be a good fit for me,” Teeter told the Democrat by phone Monday afternoon. “He thought I needed to look into it.”
Teeter said he also spoke with one of his former teachers who lives in Willard to learn more about the district.
“(What the teacher said) certainly perked my interest even more,” Teeter added. “We just really felt led as a family that we should apply for that position.”
Teeter has been the Smithton superintendent since 2015 and has been an adjunct instructor in education at William Woods University since 2009. Prior to moving to Smithton, Teeter was a middle school principal at Smithville Public Schools in the Kansas City area for four years. In addition, he has served as an assistant middle school principal in both the Park Hill and Jefferson City school districts.
Teeter said he was not looking for a new job when he was encouraged to apply for the Willard position, but felt it was a good fit for his family.
“I’m absolutely going to miss this place and the people here (in Smithton), but when you’re called to be somewhere, you have to go,” Teeter said.
He also said it has been “an honor to serve this community.”
“(Smithton) was the perfect job for me and my family at the right time and this district opened their arms to us, I love them as much as I love my own family,” Teeter said. “I’m so proud of the progress we’ve made developing our strategic plan, moving forward with projects that are absolutely best for our kids and community.”
According to information from Willard Schools, the Willard Board of Education selected Teeter from 38 applicants for the position. The field was reduced to three finalists, who last week each spent a full day in the district meeting with various school and community groups, touring district facilities and interviewing with the board. The board made their decision Friday night.
“This has been a long process and was a very hard decision for the board,” board President Kip Baker said in the release. “We had three very good finalists.”
Teeter said he and his family will be in Willard later this week for a Thursday school board meeting to sign his contract and to meet with members of the school district Friday. He will begin working for Willard Schools on July 1.
Smithton Board of Education Vice President Jason Brown told the Democrat the board will be meeting this week to discuss hiring a consultant to help with the hiring process for a new superintendent, that same approach that was used to hire Teeter in 2015.
“We feel in an effort to make the best pool of candidates in the most efficient way possible, we felt that was the way we wanted to go,” Brown said. “We definitely want to move as quickly as possible.”
Brown said the board has “been very pleased” with what Teeter has accomplished over the last two years.
“We’ve developed and created a CSIP plan with community and administrative and staff involvement, something we’re proud of,” Brown said. “As a result of that, we’ve undertaken building an athletic complex, and that process is in progress. As part of CSIP, one thing we’re excited about is our review and revising our curriculum, and we appreciate Dr. Teeter’s help in facilitating that process.
“We’re very appreciative of Dr. Teeter,” Brown added. “We hate to see him go, but we’re certainly excited for the new opportunity for growth for him, and we wish him nothing but success.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or on Twitter @NicoleRCooke.