McPherson USD 418 Associate Superintendent Chris Ruder met with McPherson Education Association members and the public in a Meet and Greet Thursday afternoon in the Little Theater at McPherson High School.
Ruder told those assembled that he believes visibility is vital in a Superintendent.
Ruder said, "I think the next Superintendent in McPherson needs to be incredibly visible. Incredibly visible within each school building, within the community and activities. I think it's important that there's an office that will be down at 514 North Main Street, but that I'm not in it very often, and I'm in Eisenhower Elementary School, McPherson Middle School, McPherson High School, at the Chili Cha-Cha and at the band concert, the vocal concert, and the football game and the basketball game."
He outlined how visibilty has helped him in his previous positions in McPherson, specifically as Middle School principal in the 2007-08 school year.
Ruder said, "When I was middle school principal, my goal was the first 20 minutes of the day, don't be in your office, be in the hallway, every passing period, don't be in your office, be in the hallway. It is amazing the informal conversations you can have, the problems that you can solve, or at least hear about, in those time periods."
That said, when asked in the meeting about advocating for the educators in Topeka, Ruder expressed a willingness to do that, as well.
Ruder said, "I sure want to be here in McPherson as Superintendent. I know there's going to have to be days when I am not here. I hope those are few and far between. But, I will absolutely go up to Topeka if needed."
In an exclusive interview with Mid Kansas Online News Editor Nick Gosnell, Ruder was quick to praise current USD 418 Superintendent and next Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson.
Ruder said, "Nick, I couldn't ask for a better mentor than Dr. Watson. I have had seven really good years to observe him, and watch him, and be a part of a lot of the great things going on in USD 418, including, C3, and innovative districts. It's just been a great experience."
Ruder is applying for the USD 418 job because he wants to stay in McPherson.
"I feel very prepared to be a Superintendent anywhere in Kansas, but I want to be the Superintendent in McPherson. Right now, I am applying because it is the McPherson job. McPherson is our home. I have been fortunate to be in this district for 15 years, between Associate Principal at the High School, Principal at the Middle School and Associate Superintendent, it's been a great experience. With this being home, when the McPherson Superintendent job came open, that's the one that I wanted. I do want to be a Superintendent, but I really want to be the McPherson Superintendent."
Ruder interviewed with the Board of Education Thursday night. Interviews will continue with other candidates Friday and next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.