By Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — One week from today, Mark Whitener will become the new USD 353 Wellington Superintendent. He will be replacing Rick Weiss, whose tenure comes to an end on June 30, 2016.
It has been awhile since Wellington has had a new superintendent – 10 years ago to be exact.
Whitener comes to Wellington during a rather tumultuous time for Kansas public schools. But he is optimistic that there will be better times ahead.
We sat down with Whitener to ask him a few questions on where he came from and what he expects in the years ahead for Kansas and USD 353.
Sumner Newscow: What made you decide to become a Superintendent of Wellington schools?
Whitener: I have served as Oxford High School Superintendent for five years. This has been a tremendous job for a superintendent. But I was ready for a new role.
Here I was serving as both a superintendent and principal. I was ready for a role where I could focus my attention solely on being a superintendent.
SN: Tell us about your background.
Whitener: I started my public school career in Ark City in 1989 and was a fifth grade teacher. I did that for 17 years and was an academic coach as well. They asked me to be principal for Ixl Elementary in Ark City and I was there for four years. Then I became a middle school principal in Ark City. My ultimate goal was to become a school superintendent.
SN: You are coming in during a tumultuous time for public schools in the state of Kansas. What do you think is the biggest challenge you will have at this moment?