I am very proud of the accomplishments of our district during my 16 years serving on the Spring Hill Board of Education. As a teacher at Spring Hill High School back in 2000 the atmosphere in the high school and the district was toxic. Teacher salaries were near poverty levels, teacher turnover rates were unsustainable, faculty and staff felt that they were not getting any support from the administration and students suffered. Just before Christmas break a group of teachers gathered in the high school library to try to find a solution. It was at that meeting that I decided to give my notice and vowed to run for the board to do what I could to make a difference. I won the 2001 election and have been working toward that goal ever since.
For years Spring Hill was seen as a "Farm Club" for our neighboring districts - a place where great new teachers would get a few years of experience and then move on to Olathe, Blue Valley, Gardner, or Shawnee Mission where they could get an instant pay raise of thousands of dollars because our salary schedule was so low. To make matters worse, the community didn't trust the district, and the district was growing but could not pass a bond issue to accommodate the growth. Bonds failed to pass in 2000 and 2001 so crowding was becoming an issue as well.
Since joining the board I have fought to improve these issues and through a continued focus we now have a competitive salary schedule, teacher turnover is lower than it has been in years, employee satisfaction is up and our students are performing better than ever. Through greater communication and transparency we have built trust with the community, passed two consecutive bond issues, built Prairie Creek Elementary, Wolf Creek Elementary, Spring Hill High School, remodeled Spring Hill Elementary and Spring Hill Middle School, converted Hilltop Elementary to house our Virtual School (Insight School of Kansas), and expanded Prairie Creek Elementary. Our most recent bond was the largest in the history of Spring Hill and we did that without raising the mill levy! We are in the process of building our fourth elementary school (Timber Sage), expanding Spring Hill High School, completing the athletic complex, and preparing to build our second Middle School.
We have also successfully implemented One-To-One Technology throughout the district, done improvements to all buildings to increase security, and even through a great recession we have done all these things while reducing the Spring Hill Mill Levy for TEN CONSECUTIVE YEARS! - The second longest of all school districts in the state of Kansas!! We have hired a new Superintendent who has been doing an outstanding job and has been focused on building trust with the faculty and encouraging them to think outside the box to be innovative in their classrooms. This is an incredibly exciting time to be in the Spring Hill School District and I am looking forward to continuing to serve this outstanding community for one more term.