Archive for Thursday, May 11, 2006

School chief is not new to Kansas

New superintendent has family ties near Cheney, began career in Mt. Hope

May 11, 2006

The new superintendent of the Basehor-Linwood schools will move to Kansas this summer, but he won't be new to the state.

Forty-five years ago, Robert Albers began his teaching career in the small Kansas town of Mt. Hope, northwest of Wichita. Albers, 66, grew up in south-central Kansas at Cheney and has spent most of his life in his native state.

He is now the interim superintendent at Douglas County West Community Schools in Valley, Neb., and will begin his new job in Basehor July 1. He will replace former Basehor-Linwood superintendent Jill Hackett, who is on administrative leave until June 30.

Albers said the opportunity to return to Kansas and serve as a leader in a progressive school district attracted him.

"There's a lot of excitement in the district," Albers said. "They have a lot of pride in their schools. You can tell from the Web site and talking with them that they're progressive and the people care about the schools."

Kerry Mueller, Basehor-Linwood school board president, said the district finalized the financial terms of Albers' one-year contract Thursday.

Albers will receive a base salary of $103,821. He also will receive a health insurance package, a monthly car allowance of $400 and $6,000 for earning his doctorate.

Mueller said Albers' experience in consolidated school districts and with bond issues was especially attractive to the school board.

"He's very personable and energetic," Mueller said. "He's experienced in leading school districts that are very similar to ours. He loves challenges. We were attracted to all those elements combined."

Albers earned his doctorate in education at Kansas State University, his master's in education administration at Wichita State University and his Bachelor of Science in mathematics at Benedictine College.

Before he moved to Nebraska, Albers served in superintendent positions at Silver Lake, Powhattan, the Circle schools at Towanda and the Midway schools at Denton. He has also held teaching and principal positions in several elementary and secondary schools in Kansas and one in Missouri.

Albers said the rewards an educational career offered had kept him in the business for more than four decades. He said he was very excited about continuing his career at Basehor-Linwood.

"The people that I've met just seem so proud of their district," Albers said. "Looking at the test results, they've been doing a lot of the right things. I'm anxious to be a part of that and help continue the successes they've already had."

In his free time, Albers enjoys attending sporting and school events. Basketball, he said, is his favorite spectator sport.

His resume also includes coaching experience. During his first job at St. Joe Elementary School at Mt. Hope, Albers coached six sports.

Albers and his wife, Betty, married in 1963. She is retired from a part-time position with the U.S. Postal Service. They have five grown children and eight grandchildren. The Albers already own a house in Atchison and plan to rent an apartment or house in the Basehor-Linwood area.

Albers said the move was also appealing because it would bring him closer to several family members, including his son, the Rev. James Albers, who is the prior of St. Benedict's Abbey in Atchison. His oldest son, Joe, lives in Edgerton, Mo., and works at Kansas City International Airport as an air traffic controller. His son Greg, Shawnee, is a medical lab technician.

The move will also bring Albers closer to his mother, who lives in Wichita.

The couple's oldest daughter, Jean VandeVelde, lives in Des Moines, Iowa, and works at Target. Their youngest daughter, Mary Beth, lives in Belize, Central America, where she teaches at a Catholic missionary school.

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