Hillsboro Superintendent interviews for McPherson top job

By Nick Gosnell
March 04, 2015

Hillsboro USD 410 Superintendent Dr. Steve Noble interviewed Wednesday for the Superintendent's vacancy in McPherson USD 418. Prior to that interview, Dr. Noble met with the public and members of the McPherson Education Association in a Meet and Greet at the McPherson High School Little Theater.

Following that gathering, Dr. Noble told Mid Kansas Online News Editor Nick Gosnell in an exclusive interview of his vision for how the career ready piece of C3 can be improved, based upon the achievements made under his leadership in Hillsboro.

Dr. Noble said, "With over 22 technical and career education pathways, we are a fully certified Project Lead the Way high school. [We have] a nationally recognized STEM program, with partners in higher education, industry and K-12 education. We have brought that project-based learning mindset to Hillsboro. We are truly a learning by doing district. And, I think that just meshes perfectly with C3 here in McPherson. We would take what you are doing, which I think is magnificent, In fact, its the first district in the State of Kansas, and I would argue nationwide, that took that whole outcome, from just being about the high school diploma, to being about true college and career readiness. How your kids here in McPherson, how you are succeeding after high school, that became most important to McPherson people several years ago under Dr. Watson's leadership and the teachers and board here in this community. We could bring, from Hillsboro, our career and tech ed piece, into that model, and elevate our career readiness, what I think is even more so. Help our kids from McPherson be STEM ready, science, technology, engineering and math, to take on the highly technical jobs that are right here in McPherson. They're here, and we need kids that have that skill set to be able to fill those jobs."

Dr. Noble also is passionate about public education and the funding for the same.

Dr. Noble said, "Well, it goes back to my fundamental question I asked this group earlier today. I said, you know, it's a fundamental decision. Do we believe that public education is a state's responsibility to fund? And, I mean State as all of us. We are the State. Do we believe, then, do we believe public education is paramount to our state's success, and our community's success within that state? If we believe that, then fund our schools. We believe in funding schools. Kansans, for decades, have believed in appropriately and adequately funding schools. It's in our State's Constitution, as such. There's also the mindset that public education is inefficient, that there needs to be some cutting, and I've lived that. Since 2009 in Hillsboro, we've had to live that exact reality. It's tough, and there were some things we can cut back on and not do that we used to be doing. Our purpose in Hillsboro would remain our purpose in McPherson, and that is to keep and target the funding to our kids and our programs that we value, that we know make a difference, for that College and Career readiness piece, and that's where we would target that funding. We would keep the message going that we need more funding for education. We wouldn't let that message die, but we also don't wallow in pity. We roll up our sleeves, we don't lose our ideals and our goals and the cultural norms that make us what we are in public education, including McPherson with C3. We keep that vision and the focus on doing that in spite of funding. That's the challenge that we have as public educators."

Dr. Noble is seeking to replace Dr. Randy Watson, who will be Kansas next Education Commissioner. He takes that job in Topeka July 1st.