Hugoton Superintendent interviews for McPherson job

By Nick Gosnell
February 27, 2015

Hugoton USD 210 Superintendent Mark Crawford interviewed for the McPherson USD 418 Superintendent's position on Friday in McPherson. Friday afternoon, Crawford met with McPherson Education Association members and the public in the McPherson High School Little Theater.

Crawford emphasized three things in his presentation to the MEA members.

Crawford said, "Community life is very important to my wife and I. We've been married 28 years and every community that we've served in, we've been very active in the community. That would be no different if we came here. I would be a very highly visible leader. I want to be part of the community. I want to be in the buildings. I would want to support not only this community, but also McPherson County. I really operate from a very strong set of internal core values. I truly believe in positive, trusting relationships. I believe that our decisions, and our schools, should be student-centered. I believe that we should have accountability, and I believe we should have engagement."

In an exclusive interview with Mid Kansas Online News Editor Nick Gosnell, Crawford highlighted what McPherson is doing well, and cited his work with Dr. Randy Watson in the Coalition of Innovative Districts, of which both McPherson and Hugoton are members.

Crawford said, "McPherson understands that it's not just about student achievement. It's a bigger picture, and it's student success. In the innovative coalition, we've identified student success indicators that are very important for all students. We know that kids are going in different places. This is a very strong blue-collar town with a lot of great jobs in plastics, engineering, gas and oil, and those kids that are not on a university track, we need to have a system backward-mapped exposing them and helping them with the skills that they need to step into a high paying job in whatever realm. That's something that McPherson has done a great job with."

Crawford asserted that he would bring an innovative spirit with him from Hugoton and experience from having an opportunity to innovate due to the property tax base in that district.

Crawford said, "I understand the big picture. I understand the power of vision. I understand that this school board and Dr. Watson spent two years with retreats and two years vision building and had a tremendous amount of board support on a broad vision of how they could take this district to a higher level. I've watched their journey. I've seen their journey and many other innovative districts have not only learned from that, but have done the same. I would want to build on the strong vision."

In addition to building on the academic vision, Crawford sees a workforce component to the Superintendent's job, as well.

Crawford said, "I would want to continue to be active in the community. In my current county, I serve on the Stevens County Economic Development board. That understanding and that connection with all aspects of the community and county is very important, because education is a workforce center. We're an economic driver. Those partnerships are very powerful when they translate into exposure for our students, Skills, industry recognized certificates, a kid that has an industry recognized certificate, they typically work within 60 miles of their hometown, and much of the time, they step into a very, very well paying job."

Crawford is the second of five candidates to be interviewed for the Superintendent's position. McPherson USD 418 Associate Superintendent Chris Ruder was interviewed Thursday, and three more candidates will be interviewed next week, one each on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.