Kari Monsees, 45, is the new superintendent for the Raymore-Peculiar School District.
Monsees was hired in December 2012, and began his duties July 1. He replaces Jeff Kyle, who recently retired.
Prior to moving to Cass County, Monsees had been the chief financial officer/assistant superintendent for the Wentzville School District, located in western St. Charles County near St. Louis.
In a statement released by the district, Raymore-Peculiar school board members said they were impressed with Monsees’ financial expertise, leadership skills and his familiarity with and enthusiasm for the initiatives currently underway in the district.
Monsees said he is excited about the adoption of the school’s International Baccalaureate program, and also has experience in implementing one-to-one technology learning opportunities. He’s also been involved in successful bond and levy campaigns and construction projects.
In the area of school finance, Monsees has received special recognition.
In 2012, the Association of School Business Officials International awarded the Wentzville School District the Meritorious Budget Award for excellence in the preparation and issuance of its 2011-2012 budget.
Monsees has been nominated three times for the School Business Official of the Year award, which is presented annually by the Missouri Association of School Business Officials. He was chairman of the MoASBO Ethics Committee and has been a presenter at MoASBO conferences.
The Cass County Democrat Missourian spoke with Monsees on July 23 about his new role.
What attracted you to the position of superintendent at Raymore-Peculiar?
“When I made the decision to a pursue a superintendent-level position, I targeted a few things. I wanted a high-quality school district with a record of great student performance. I also wanted live on this side of the state, in the Kansas City metropolitan area, much closer to my family and friends. It’s a double win for me and my family to be here.”
What are you looking to contribute to the district during your career here?
“I want to provide solid, consistent leadership and enhancing student achievement. This district has a great reputation for high student achievement and my goal is to provide the leadership to see that continues over time.”
How do you evaluate student success?
“We certainly look at each individual student and that is true here at Ray-Pec as it is in many school districts, and help them maximize their potential is for learning with the goal being, when they leave us, they are prepared for whatever is next for them in life. It could be higher education, career training, the workforce – whatever the case may be.”
What challenges do you feel will need to be addressed in the immediate future?
Growth: “We kind of had a reprieve of the growth rate in the last few years, but I don’t know if I’ve talked to anyone who expects that to continue in the longterm. We’re already starting to see the indicators of growth again in the housing sector and economic activities. It usually follows not too longer after that we’ll see more students in our district.
It’s one of the things my prior district was all about – managing and working with growth – so I feel pretty comfortable working with those challenges.”
State budget issues: “Another definite challenge is the overall status of the funding of schools and where that fits in the grand scheme of the public sector. Revenues have been flat after a considerable time after a significant downturn. Long term, we’ll have to keep addressing financial concerns and be as efficient as we possibly can.”
What other things should people know about yourself?
“I am very excited to be here, and along with my wife, we’re looking forward to meeting people throughout the school district community.”
Monsees has been chief financial officer at Wentzville since July 1, 2008.
Before joining Wentzville, he was assistant superintendent five years in the Warrensburg School District.
Monsees is a graduate of Smithton High School, and received a bachelor's degree in secondary math education and secondary physical education from the University of Central Missouri.
He also earned his master's degree in secondary school administration and an educational specialist degree in school district administration from UCM. He received his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Monsees and his wife, Laura, have moved to the community. His stepson and daughter-in-law, Christopher and Emily Anderson, live in Overland Park, Kan., and have a son, Jaxson.