New superintendent meets with Lee’s Summit parents, answers tough questions

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- Lee's Summit parents had some tough questions for their new superintendent on Wednesday night, and the school board that hired him.

It was less than a year ago that the Lee's Summit school board was under fire for the handling of their superintendent's contract at the time, giving a raise and extension right before he was pushed to resign. Parents and teachers voiced questions about their new hire, Dr. Dennis Carpenter, on Wednesday.

Dr. Carpenter is currently superintendent at neighboring Hickman Mills and said he wanted to address rumors he'd have the same leadership style in Lee's Summit as the district with very different demographics and test scores.

He said the districts have different needs and he won't use the same checklist. Dr. Carpenter was also asked about age discrimination lawsuits from teachers at Hickman Mills during his tenure. The board said they got 33 applications from across the country and they were surprised themselves with Hickman Mills superintendent turned out to be the best candidate. They say teachers and parents are blowing the lawsuits out of proportion.

Dr. Carpenter responded to questions about him wearing an "I Can't Breathe" hoodie, saying as an African-American male he cares deeply about safety issues important to the African-American community.

He also said that shouldn't have any bearing on his ability to lead the predominately white school district.

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