Lee’s Summit School District opening a fresh chapter with new superintendent

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- It's almost back to school time, and as parents and teachers all over the region stock up on school supplies, one of the largest school districts in the area launches a new chapter. There`s a new person in charge at the Lee's Summit School District.

Dr. Dennis Carpenter has been the superintendent at Lee's Summit for a month now. When he was hired, back in January, some teachers and parents had some uncomfortable questions about Dr. Carpenter. There were accusations of age discrimination in some lawsuits at the Hickman Mills School District when Dr. Carpenter was the superintendent there.

Wednesday night, Dr. Carpenter took those concerns head on--and says he`s eager to put his mark on one of the best districts in the state.

He says he`s counting down the days until the first day of school.

"I tell teachers all the time if you don't enter that school building on the first day with butterflies in your stomach, all ready to go, you really need to rethink this thing we call education," he said.

Dr. Carpenter and Lee's Summit didn`t get off to a great start.

"I want to let him and the school board know that we`re still listening, we still have concerns," said retired teacher Pam Henry.

"I would tell them to breathe," Dr. Carpenter replied.

He maintains tough decisions and staff shake-ups were necessary, when he was at Hickman Mills, a district struggling to meet state standards. He describes hard choices and tough cuts he does not foresee in Lee`s Summit.

"A district, that again, has so many great attributes, it's exciting to come in and that's not be a makeover if you will," he said.

Dr. Carpenter`s three-year contract at Lee`s Summit will pay him $235,000 a year. FOX 4 did reach out to teachers, school board members, and parents in both the Lee`s Summit district and at Hickman Mills to see if there were any lingering concerns about those age discrimination lawsuits, but did not hear back from anyone.