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Two Kansas school district leaders named 2023 Superintendents to Watch

Two Kansas school district leaders have been selected as 2023 Superintendents to Watch, an award offered through the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) that honors innovative and effective use of technology to engage and inform the school community.

This year, 25 superintendents were selected from 17 states, including Dr. Jessica Dain, superintendent at Piper Unified School District 203 superintendent, and Dr. Raquel Geer, superintendent at Maize USD 266, received the distinction.

“This year’s honorees understand the critical role that effective, two-way communication plays in building trust with students, families, employees and community members,” said Barbara M. Hunter, NSPRA executive director. “Each of these leaders has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to championing innovative communication strategies to advance their district’s success.”

NSPRA received a record number of nominations this year, more than 70, according to NSPRA. Since the 2015-2016 school year, NSPRA has recognized 152 school district leaders as Superintendents to Watch.

Greer began her duties as superintendent at Maize in July 2022. Since joining the district, she has conducted listening sessions with employees, reengaged with stakeholder groups, participated in school and community events, led the development of the Lead Forward strategic plan, strengthened partnerships with the city of Maize and the Maize Recreation Commission, and led the implementation of new communication strategies, according to information posted on Maize USD 266’s Facebook page.

Greer was an education and community member in the Wichita area for 23 years before beginning her career as a superintendent at Maize. Before joining Maize, Greer served as assistant superintendent for four years. Her work history also includes time as an elementary school principal, elementary counselor and third grade teacher in Mulvane, according to the district’s website.

Greer earned a master’s degree in counseling and leadership from Wichita State University (WSU). She also received a doctorate in educational leadership from WSU.

She is active in the Mulvane community by engaging in the Mulvane Community Foundation, Mulvane Children’s Fund, Strengthening Families Program and Girls on the Run.

Greer, who grew up in Liberal, and her husband, Jason, have three sons, Mason, Trey and Drew.

Maize USD 266 in 2023 received the following stars through the Kansas State Department of Education’s Kansans Can Star Recognition Program:

  • Gold: Graduation
  • Silver: Postsecondary Success
  • Bronze: Social-Emotional Growth
  • Copper: Individual Plan of Study (IPS) and Academically Prepared for Postsecondary

Dain joined the Piper school district in July 2020. Under her leadership, Piper USD 203 planned and passed the largest school bond in the district’s history that will provide “much-needed facility construction and upgrades that will impact all Piper students – from preschool all the way through graduation,” a Piper USD 203 news release stated.

Dain, who grew up in Emporia and graduated from Emporia High School, received her bachelor’s degree (double major in English and physical education) from Emporia State University (ESU). She received her master’s degree in school administration from ESU. Dain continued her education at St. Louis University, where she graduated with a doctorate in educational leadership.

During her nearly 28 years in education, Dain has worked in De Soto, Shawnee Mission and Blue Valley school districts. She has served as an English teacher at the middle and high school levels before working as a principal at elementary, middle and high schools. She also worked as a director and assistant superintendent in the teaching and learning department before moving to assistant superintendent of support services and middle school education for Olathe USD 233.

She is active in her community and has served as vice president of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund, which fundraises to provide shoes to economically disadvantaged children in Olathe.

Dain and her husband, Dr. Todd Dain, have three children - daughters Andie and Ashton, and a son, Brock.

Since the 2015-2016 school year, NSPRA has recognized 152 school district leaders as Superintendents to Watch.

Honorees must have fewer than five years of experience as a superintendent and must demonstrate dynamic, fast-paced leadership with strong communication at its core.

NSPRA will recognize each award recipient with a profile in upcoming issues of its monthly newsletter, as well as on its website and social media channels. In addition, honorees will be recognized at the NSPRA 2024 National Seminar in Seattle in July 2024.

This year’s other honorees are from Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Posted: Dec 21, 2023,
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