Lee’s Summit School District selects new superintendent

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — After months of searching, the Lee’s Summit School District has selected its new superintendent, replacing Dr. Dennis Carpenter.

Dr. David Buck has been named to the position and will be formally introduced at the school board’s Jan. 23 meeting. However, he won’t begin his time with the district until this summer on July 1.

He’ll take over from Dr. Emily Miller, who has acted as interim superintendent since Carpenter resigned in July.

“My family and I are beyond excited to join the Lee’s Summit R-7 family,” Buck said. “Everyone we met during the interview process was so gracious and made us feel at home.”

Buck currently serves as the superintendent of the Wright City R-II School District, about 50 miles west of St. Louis, and has been in that position since 2015. He has also acted as an assistant superintendent, high school principal and teacher.

The district said Buck believes schools must “meet the diverse needs of students” and that addressing students’ safety, health and social needs is key to a strong education.

“My personal mission is that every kid grows up to be an adult we all would be proud to call a neighbor,” Buck said in a statement. “I’m excited about being part of LSR7’s mission to do just that.”

Lee’s Summit has been through a lot in the past two years, culminating in Carpenter’s resignation. The district had to buy out the remainder of his contract, $750,000 in total.

With a few lawsuits and plenty of controversy, many said morale was low and racial tension was high in the district.

Many parents and teachers were frustrated with the district and its lack of transparency. The district said that was a focus during this superintendent search.

It held a national search for the position, working with an outside search firm based in Omaha.

Lee’s Summit Schools collected feedback from online surveys and stakeholder meetings, and then interview teams were made up of more than 80 parents, students, teachers, administrators, staff and community members.

“The community asked us for a leader who will build unity throughout the district, continue and expand upon the equity work the district has already started, be a champion for our educators and lead other major LSR7 initiatives that promote student success,” Board of Education President Julie Doane said in the statement. “I’m proud of our process, and I believe Dr. Buck will do great things for LSR7.”

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