School Board Recap: Retirements & Resignations Spark Administrative Reorganization

Subscribe to the Excelsior Citizen YouTube Channel for more great video content!

A Plethora of Personnel Changes for ESSD

It’s that time of year when those in the field of education begin to make career moves. At the December 12th meeting of the Excelsior Springs Board of Education, several key administrators tendered their resignations either for the sake of retirement or to advance their careers in another school district. Notable resignations included Asst. Superintendent Heather Gross, who has accepted a position as superintendent of schools for Centerview, MO; Activities Director Joe Greim is retiring, and Elementary Principals Annette Shelton (Elkhorn) and Brian Sloan (Cornerstone) are also both retiring. Earlier this year Lewis Elementary Principal, Kacie Ambrose also resigned effective at the end of the school year, which will mean all three elementary schools will be under new leadership at the beginning of the 2023-24 school year.

In the wake of the resignations, several current employees applied for and were hired into the open positions, in turn, leaving their positions open. Dr. Christen Everett, the current Excelsior Springs High School Principal, has been named the next Assistant Superintendent of Student Services. High School Assistant Principal, Eric Marshall will be moving into the role of Activities Director. And, current Assistant Principal at Cornerstone, Jessica Broadbent will take over as Principal.

As leadership shifts within the district, a shroud of mystery still surrounds the sudden departure of Excelsior Springs Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Travis Hux, who disappeared just a few days after the September 12, 2022 Board of Education meeting. Hux has remained on paid leave for over four months with no indication of when, or if, he will return. Members of the ESSD Board of Education and ESSD administration have said they cannot comment about Dr. Hux’s cause of leave for “legal reasons.” Attempts to reach Dr. Hux via his personal cell phone revealed that his number was no longer in service. With Hux on seemingly permanent leave, Dr. Jaret Tomlinson has taken over and is filling the role of Superintendent.

Documents Detail Personnel Changes

The Excelsior Springs School District released several statements congratulating appointees Dr. Everett, Mr. Marshall, and Mrs. Broadbent. See below:

Board Meeting Agenda

Classified Employee Recognition Award 

Dr. Bullimore noted Amber Mynatt, Cornerstone Elementary secretary, was selected as the December Classified Employee of the Month. She was recently recognized at her building and presented with a Certificate of Excellence. 

Recognition of ESHS Boys State Soccer 

Dr. Bullimore introduced Coach Zach Ganzer and the ESHS Boy’s Soccer team. Coach Ganzer talked about their season and recent 3rd place finish at the MSHSAA state competition. A majority of the team and coaching staff were on hand to receive the recognition. The team this year included, Head Coach Zac Ganzer, Asst. Coaches Brett McKenzie and Katrina Yoakum, Braxton Moffett, Brenden Blackburn, Braedyn Sejkora, Zach Dimes, Nolan Greim, Jacob Zapada, Mason Wartner, Grayson Grove, Tayvion Kennedy, Carter Pitts, Kolin Kincaid, Brady Schoonover, Colby Mueller, Deagen Barber, Lee Mueller, Elijah Ishmael, Austin Collins, Easton Ryan

The team posed for a quick picture after the meeting (photo Mackenzie Cole).

Superintendent’s Report

Dr. Tomlinson presented his December Board Report. After a quick update on the financial status, Tomlinson moved into a review of attendance with all but the Early Childhood center above 90% attendance.

Attendance Review (Aug. 24th – Dec. 7th)
Early Childhood Ctr. 88.39
Middle School 90.68
Elkhorn Elem. 92.37
Lewis Elem. 92.15
Cornerstone Elem. 92.91
High School 92.35

Tomlinson announced ESSD will be bringing back the Career Ladder Program beginning in the 2023-24 school year. Teachers can earn anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 per year by completing a set number of tasks and additional contact hours with students over the course of the year. Tomlinson said what is nice about the program is that the additional hours have to be planned and approved by building administrators, helping them plan. “It gives the principals in the buildings the opportunity to make sure that they’re getting the coverage they need for students either before and after school, as well as different clubs and programs so we’re really excited about that,” he said. State funding will help cover the cost of the additional supplemental pay up to 60%. If every eligible teacher participates Tomlinson said they anticipate a cost of $1,250,000 with a total cost to the district of around $500,000.

Tomlinson quickly touched on the Career Center grants, which Career Center Director Ben Rubey expounded upon later in the meeting.

Finally, Tomlinson gave an update on “Proposition Lewis,” sharing a projected timeline for the project. If all goes well the new school should be complete by August 5, 2024.

Approval of Career Center Grant Update

Ben Rubey presented an update on the ARPA MACCO grant that the District was recently awarded and which was for the maximum award amount of $400,000. The grant is a 75/25 matching grant and the funds are slated to be used to help with program expansion at the Career Center and will also be used to help offset construction. He also noted that based on Workforce Development data, and occupational projections, the two programs that would most benefit the district’s students and community would be Physical Therapy/Sports Medicine and Law Enforcement.

The Board approved accepting the funds from the MACCO grant, providing the matching funds needed, and moving forward with program expansion and construction of facilities as presented by Mr. Rubey. See Mr. Rubey’s full presentation below:

Approval of 2022-23 Health Services Program Evaluation

The 2022-23 Health Services Program Evaluation was approved as presented by Dr. Gross.

Early Childhood Ctr. / Swope Clinic Update

Dr. Gross presented an update on the Swope Health Clinic (being funded by MARC-Head Start) that will be located at the Early Childhood Center. A Fit Test for the clinic has been completed and is being sent to the dental services to make sure the space they will be utilizing is adequate. When this is complete, they will begin the process of finding a contractor. The scope of services to be provided include health maintenance and early intervention, oral health, vision/eye care, and mental/behavioral health.

Discussion/Adoption of Resolution Opposing Legislation Regarding Open Enrollment

Dr. Tomlinson talked about House Bill No. 253 and open enrollment and how it affects public education in Missouri. Board member Troy Snelling said, “for the districts that are already in trouble [HB No. 253] is like throwing an anvil to a drowning man. You know, we’ll probably be fine but there are districts around the state that may not be able to survive. It’s a horrible idea.” The Board adopted a resolution opposing the legislation.

Change of Meeting Date Approved

To conclude the meeting the Board approved the regular meetings of the Board of Education to the second Tuesday of each month, beginning in January of 2023. The board said the new time would better accommodate administrators and staff who attend meetings. The next scheduled meeting will be held on January 10, 2023, at 6:30 PM.

Official Board of Education Meeting Notes for December 12, 2022

Board of Education agendas and documentation can be found at

We keep the local news free thanks to advertisers and individual contributions!

Thanks to our Founding Sponsors

News for and About Excelsior Springs!

Get the Excelsior Citizen e-newsletter delivered straight to your inbox each week. It’s a collection of the best news and events all focused exclusively on Excelsior Springs. No fluff just local news and information you can trust!

Free Newsletter Signup