Something seemed amiss to David McGehee long before he and his family made a trip to the Missouri School Boards’ Association and Missouri Association of School Administrators joint fall conference held at Tan-Tar-A Resort at the Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach.
Joined by wife Andrea, and 17-year-old daughter Laura, McGehee’s hunch stemmed from a little too much excitement from Laura about the trip.
“It was one of those situations were a lot of things were occurring leading up to the banquet that made me wonder,” McGehee, superintendent for the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, said Oct. 7, two days after he was selected by MASA as the state’s superintendent of the year. “You don’t expect something to happen because you don’t want disappointment in there, but certainly I was surprised.
“As far back as a couple of weeks ago when my 17-year-old daughter was excited about going to the Lake for shopping – not only did she want to go to the Lake to shop, but she was excited about the banquet and I found that a little bit strange…I kind of had an inkling a few seconds before they made the announcement.”
As the recipient of the yearly award, McGehee will represent Missouri in the National Superintendent of the Year program conducted by the American Association of School Administrators.
Ron Baker, Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education president, praised McGehee in a statement for his leadership in the areas of student instruction, community involvement, addressing budget challenges, effective use of technology, communication and legislative advocacy.
“He has worked with staff members throughout the district to create and nourish educational environments where the focus is on learning and success for each child,” Baker said. “Dr. McGehee has a passion for teaching and learning, for what is best for each student and for encouraging leadership in others.”
McGehee has served as the R-7 school district’s superintendent since July 2006. He previously served as superintendent of the Raymore-Peculiar School District and the Sparta School District. In fact, some of the board members who worked along side him in Sparta were on hand for the Oct. 5 announcement as were current members of the R-7 school board.
“It was neat to share with all of the board members that were there,” McGehee said.
According to MASA officials, McGehee was cited for his leadership in making the district “well-respected within the Kansas City metropolitan area and region for the high level of achievement of its students and the progressive nature of its educational programs.”
McGehee has also played a critical role in the development of the nationally recognized Missouri Innovation Campus, which operates out of the district’s Summit Technology Academy.
“Without Dr. McGehee’s vision and ability to form collaborative partnerships in the most critical times, the potential to deliver a program promising to lower the cost of a college degree; eliminate the skills gap of graduates; accelerate the time required to a degree; and most importantly, eliminate the use of student loan debt as a way to pay for college, would be non-existent, or at best been very limited,” University of Central Missouri President Charles Ambrose said in a statement.
As some of the perks as the winner of superintendent of the year award, McGehee received an award acknowledging his selection, a $500 scholarship for a student in the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and a commemorative ring.
The award is sponsored by PFM Asset Management, LLC, which is the program administrator for the Missouri Securities Investment Program.
“I haven’t necessarily traveled that route yet,” McGehee said of the monetary prize. “My initial thought about it is that we can create a process where I can give back to a student that is going into education for a career. I will probably work with the counseling offices at our high schools to try to figure out what the best process would be.”