by Melissa Brunner
It's a suprising turn of events for Topeka's USD 501. Instead of having an experienced person they could feel comfortable filling the superintendent's role until someone (possibly he) was hired to take the job permanently, they now are back to square one in finding a successor for. Dr. Kevin Singer.
We got the notice around 5:45pm Wednesday. It was a news release, just a sentence or two, saying USD 501 would hold a special news conference at the Burnett Center. No hint at the topic. By 6:20, we'd learned Dr. John Morton would announce he was stepping down just four days into his tenure as interim superintendent. Shortly after 6:30, he faced the cameras to say the job was simply more physically and mentally demanding than he'd expected. He cited family reasons that will require him to travel more than he'd expected. He also said he believes in Topeka Public Schools and the direction in which the district is moving.
On WIBW 580 Radio's "On the Other Hand" Thursday, board vice president Hal Gardner told Megan Mosack the decision caught the board by surprise. He said he'd actually expected Dr. Morton would stay on in a permanent role, perhaps for five years or so.
What exactly, if anything, changed with Dr. Morton's situation, we do not know. Obviously, he feels it is something that needs his attention. I wish his family the best. For the district, it is probably good that he came the realization so quickly, rather than do the job with divided attention.
What do you think? And, as the board now moves foward with again search for a superintendent, what would you like to see them do? Should they look internally for someone to take the interim title while they jump headlong into the search for a permanent superintendent? Or should they broaden the search for an interim leader?