Hiawatha Superintendent interviews for McPherson job

By Nick Gosnell
March 03, 2015

Dr. Penny Hargrove, current Superintendent of Hiawatha USD 415 interviewed for the position of McPherson USD 418 Superintendent on Tuesday evening.

Prior to that interview, Dr. Hargrove met with the public and McPherson Education Association members for a meet and greet in the McPherson High School Little Theater.

As part of that meeting, Dr. Hargrove was asked why she is interested in the McPherson job.

Hargrove said, "In my career, there have been a couple of districts that I have really watched, and I've seen the great things that are happening, and stolen ideas. We do a lot of this where I'm at. Both of those came open this year." (The other is Auburn-Washburn USD 437 school district in Topeka. Hargrove was also a finalist for their position and interviewed January 15th.)

Hargrove continued, "I'm happy where I'm at. I love it there, but I've always dreamed of being in McPherson."

She added, "This district's not status quo. It really is probably the most student-centered, teacher-centered district I have ever seen and I've watched it change."

In an exclusive interview with Mid Kansas Online News Editor Nick Gosnell, Hargrove expounded further on what is special about McPherson that makes this a job she wants.

"They've got everything lined up. I love the three-legged stool. The understanding that you need not only the curriculum that gets the kids college and career ready, but you also have the citizenship, to make sure they've got the integrity, and they understand that failing is okay, and you're going to grow from that experience. Then, they have the teachers that have the professional development that helps the kids be able to learn more. I really enjoy the way that they have kind of molded it all together and made it one succinct program."

Hargrove was excited about the collaboration going on that she saw in touring the school buildings.

"Seeing the staff and the kids and seeing them working so well together. It seems to be that there is such a cohesiveness and a family atmosphere. That, to me, I think, is the most exciting. Everyone's here for the same purpose and they're all working together, There's not two entities that are fighting one another. That's a blessing, and that's where our kids are really going to grow from. We just need to keep going. We need to tweak a little here and there and we need to make sure all the people are in the right places, and we need to move forward, and we need to continue to serve these kids."

Hargrove is seeking to replace outgoing Superintendent Dr. Randy Watson, who will be leaving McPherson to become Kansas' next Commissioner of Education. He begins his duties in Topeka July 1.