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Francis Howell names new superintendent

Mary Hendricks-Harris

Mary Hendricks-Harris

The Francis Howell School District decided to stay close to home after a national search for a new superintendent.

Mary Hendricks-Harris has been named the district’s next superintendent, starting July 1. The board voted unanimously at a special Feb. 4 meeting to hire Hendricks-Harris, the district’s current chief academic officer, after conducting what district officials say was an “extensive national search.”

She succeeds Superintendent Pam Sloan, who retires June 30 after serving as superintendent for six years and as a teacher and administrator in the district for 23 years. The board approved a three-year contract with Hendricks-Harris, but at presstime no salary figures were disclosed.

“The board is looking forward to having Hendricks-Harris at the helm and will work with her to ensure we continue to provide an excellent education for the children of our community at an exceptional value to our taxpayers,” said Mark Lafata, board president, in a prepared statement.

In that statement, Hendricks-Harris said she planned to focus on student learning and finances to support learning.

“As we look to the future, I am confident we will come together as a community and secure the resources students need to get the best possible education and that our teachers need to do their work,” she said.

Hendricks-Harris has been the district’s chief academic officer since 2010 and has led school improvement and academic support efforts. She joined the district in 2006 as director of adult learning and program evaluation, where she developed the district’s professional development program.

She also previously served as an area coordinator and as director of special education with the Special School District of St. Louis County. She was a special education teacher with the Special School District, as well as the Fox School District. Hendricks-Harris is also an adjunct instructor with Lindenwood University.

She  was the recipient of Lindenwood’s Francis and Elizabeth Huss Graduate Award for Education Administration and attended the Harvard Institute for School Leadership. Additionally, she has acted as the lead presenter at numerous local, state, and national professional development conferences.

Hendricks-Harris earned a doctorate of education degree and educational specialist degree from Lindenwood University. She also holds a master’s degree in education from University of Missouri – St. Louis and a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Louis University.

The district conducted a three-month national search for a new superintendent that was coordinated by the consulting firm McPherson Jacobson. The firm received more than 20 completed applications by the position’s closing date of Jan. 8, 2016. The Board of Education reviewed the applications and selected three candidates for interviews.

Hendricks-Harris will take over a district that has about 18,000 students.

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