The Gasconade County R-2 Board of Education wasted no time in hiring Staci Lynn Johnson of Lake Ozark, Mo., as the district’s 2021-22 assistant superintendent, replacing Dr. Jeri Kay Hardy who …
The Gasconade County R-2 Board of Education wasted no time in hiring Staci Lynn Johnson of Lake Ozark, Mo., as the district’s 2021-22 assistant superintendent, replacing Dr. Jeri Kay Hardy who will succeed retiring superintendent Dr. Chuck Garner.
“The board interviewed her and I sat in on those interviews,” Hardy said about her first impression of Johnson. “I think she is going to be great for the district. She is a highly qualified candidate, great with curriculum, instruction and assessment.”
Johnson was one of three candidates who received in-person interviews with the board during a special closed session held Jan. 20, and one of four applicants who went through reference checks. Hardy announced the board’s decision Friday via district email.
“It is my privilege to announce the GCR2 Board of Education has named Staci Johnson as the next assistant superintendent of schools for the Gasconade County R-2 School District,” Hardy wrote. “Staci will assume the duties July 1, 2021.”
Rigorous K-12 curriculum
Johnson is eager to begin her duties as assistant superintendent.
“I was excited to be offered the position because that is one of my passions, rigorous curriculum in K-12 and working with passionate teachers,” Johnson said. “Kids will benefit from that and I am glad I was a good fit for the district.”
Johnson and her family — husband Devin, and children Ezekial, 6, and Evelyn, 4 — visited the district on Monday.
Johnson, who is scheduled to complete her doctorate in May, comes from School of the Osage in Lake Ozark where she had been an assistant principal since 2014 and principal since 2018
Johnson said she is excited to get to know the district.
“First thing I noticed was every building I walked into, I was greeted with a positive, smiling face from the front office,” she said. “When you go into some districts, that doesn’t happen. It gives me an idea of the type of culture that exists in Owensville already.”
She also complimented the leadership at each building.
“Leaders are passionate about their building and their students,” Johnson said. “They have champions at every building.”
The highlight of the trip for Ezekial, who’s favorite subject is math, and Evelyn, who loves to dance, was seeing Owensville Elementary, where the children will attend school this fall.
“It is a beautiful building,” Johnson said, but didn’t leave out the remaining campuses. “I was super impressed with all of the buildings.”
She noted that even though Gerald Elementary School is the oldest building in the district, the teachers and staff, under the direction of Principal Jared Tharp, have brought the building to life.
“They have done some cool things to make the building cool and vibrant,” she said. “I have worked with districts with old and new buildings and the most important part is the people.”
It is the people in the district that hold Johnson’s attention.
“Specific goals will be working with Dr. Hardy to work with CSIP goals, to see if any touches need to be made or updated that I may suggest in July,” Johnson said. “Specifically, my passion is for curriculum, assessment and program planning, and that is what they wanted in an assistant superintendent.”
‘Developer of people’
For Johnson, education runs in her blood as a third generation educator — a passion her husband’s family also shares. Husband Devin is also an educator and head football coach at School of the Osage and is looking for a position locally or in the surrounding school districts. His classroom subject is math.
“I come from a family of educators and joke that I didn’t know there were other kinds of jobs out there when I was growing up,” she said.
Her father was a superintendent in Rolla before retirings, and her father-in-law also worked as a superintendent before retiring.
“It’s what we do. What draws me to it is a passion for developing others. My forte is at the secondary level and I love to see kids and adults grow,” Johnson said. “There are so many different types of jobs where you get to be that developer of people. I love to look for people’s strengths. I get to do that as an assistant superintendent on a large scale for all ages.”
Johnson is currently working on her doctorate in education and expects to receive the degree from University of Missouri, Columbia in May 2021.
In 2016, she received an specialist degree in educational leadership and policy analysis from University of Missouri Columbia.
In 2011, she earned a master of science in education in secondary school administration (Missouri Principal’s Certificate) from University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg.
She obtained her undergraduate degree, bachelor of science in education in speech communication and theatre as well as acquiring her Missouri Teaching Certificate in speech /theatre (K-12), Spanish (K-12), from Central Missouri State University in 2006.
She graduated in 2002 from School of the Osage High School in Osage Beach where she also received an advanced academic diploma and college preparatory certificate.
Background in the arts
Johnson’s educator experience dates back to her first classroom experience at Liberty Public Schools (2006-12) as a speech/drama teacher for eighth and ninth grades, broadcasting for ninth grade, debate and competitive theatre for ninth through 12th grades, musical and play director, assistant debate coach, director of speech and debate, speech, theatre debate curriculum, revision committee, building leadership team, advisory committee, positive climate committee, and leadership academy.
From 2012-14, she joined the educator team at Hallsville Public Schools teaching Spanish to ninth through 12th grades, forensics, director of speech and debate, speech-theatre, debate curriculum revision committee, building leadership team, advisory committee, positive climate committee, and leadership academy.
The Johnson family, along with their 10-year-old black lab Bruno, plans to relocate to the Owensville area this summer.
“I am just really excited,” Hardy said about Johnson joining the team. “I think she is going to work well with our administrators and teachers and I think she will be a great asset to the district.”