Archive for Wednesday, January 29, 2003

School District names new superintendent

January 29, 2003

Newly named Basehor-Linwood School District superintendent Jill Hackett sees plenty of similarities between her new district and old one.

Hackett, 39, who is currently the assistant superintendent of the Goddard School District, was unanimously appointed to the top Basehor-Linwood post last week.

Hackett has been in the Goddard School District since 1992 and has served in various capacities, including elementary and middle school principal.

She replaces current superintendent Cal Cormack, who is resigning at year's end, and she will take over July 1.

"There are a lot of similarities between the Basehor community and the Goddard community," said Hackett, pointing to both bedroom communities advancing through residential development and school construction.

And for any new leader in the Basehor-Linwood School District, experience in managing an increasing enrollment and new construction is a must.

Fortunately for Hackett, she has experience in both.

The Goddard School District, eight miles west of Wichita, is one of the largest 5A districts in the state. In the very near future, the school district could advance to 6A, Hackett said.

During the past 11 years at Goddard, Hackett helped pass $50 million in bonds and capitol improvement projects. But as for plans in Basehor-Linwood, Hackett said it's wait and see.

"It's important as a new superintendent to move into the community, which my family and I are in the process of doing, and get in there and find out what the main interests are," she said.

But it's obvious from speaking with school officials and researching the school district that there is a need to "address the increasing enrollment they have experienced and are experiencing," she added.

Overall, 50 candidates applied for the superintendent's position after Cormack announced his retirement in September.

The list was later pared down to four candidates.

Hackett was chosen for her experience in a district similar to Basehor-Linwood.

"We liked her experience in a growing school district and her handling all issues and considerations that come with that," school board president Kerry Mueller said.

"We liked her energy and her vision, and feel she could lead our district to the next level with the growth we're experiencing," she added.

School officials also looked at Hackett as a long-term fixture for the school district.

"We wanted someone who would not use this district as a stepping stone to something else," Mueller said.

For Hackett, the move to Basehor-Linwood completes her career goal of one day leading a school district.

"I was looking for an opportunity to become a superintendent," Hackett said. "I thoroughly enjoy school and being an education leader, and I was looking for a good place to work and a good place to raise my family.

"I think it's going to be an excellent job. It's a great community," she added.

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