KSDE Weekly

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Harwood named Deputy Commissioner of Fiscal and Administrative Services

Harwood named Deputy Commissioner of Fiscal and Administrative Services

Former superintendent has 30 years of experience in public education

Dr. Frank Harwood, a former teacher, principal and superintendent with 30 years of experience in public education, will begin his duties as Deputy Commissioner of Fiscal and Administrative Services at the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) on Friday, Jan. 12.

Harwood is taking the helm of KSDE’s Fiscal and Administrative division after the Dec. 8, 2023, retirement of Dr. Craig Neuenswander.

The Kansas State Board of Education approved Harwood for the position following an executive session on Tuesday, Jan. 9.

“We are excited to have Frank join our KSDE team,” said Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson. “He brings a wealth of school finance and school operation knowledge with 30 years of public school education experience.”

Harwood has been serving as interim CEO at the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence. Before that, Harwood spent seven years as superintendent for DeSoto Unified School District 232.

“I retired (as superintendent) in June 2023,” Harwood said. “But I felt like I could continue to be of service.”

Harwood grew up on a farm in McLouth. His father, Arnold, was a school board member and raised dairy cattle and later had dryland row crops. His mother, Ruby, worked for the Jefferson County Health Department as a nurse and served in many of the area school districts.

“I grew up in small-town Kansas,” Harwood said. “I’m the youngest of five.”

After graduating from McLouth High School, Harwood attended The University of Kansas, where he received a bachelor’s degree in secondary science education. He student taught at Santa Fe Trail USD 434 in Carbondale and at Highland Park High School, Topeka USD 501.

Harwood earned his master’s degree in curriculum and instruction in 1991 from KU. His first teaching assignment was during the 1993-1994 school year at Perry-Lecompton High School, Perry-Lecompton USD 343, where he taught biology, chemistry and physics and coached basketball and track.

He worked as an assistant high school principal for Leavenworth USD 453 and also as a principal at Central Junior High School, now called Liberty Memorial Middle School, Lawrence USD 497. Harwood also served as director of technology and chief operations officer for Lawrence USD 497.

Harwood’s first position as superintendent was at Bellevue Public Schools in Bellevue, Nebraska. He served in this capacity from 2011-2016. His most recent position was as superintendent at De Soto USD 232.

Harwood received his doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 2019.

He and his wife, Jamie, have two grown children and live in Lawrence.

Harwood is looking forward to settling into his new role at KSDE. During the 2024 Kansas legislative session, he will spend time at the Statehouse testifying and sharing information with legislators.

“It’s mostly about helping Kansas school districts,” Harwood said. “I enjoy the legislative process, too, and I look forward to learning more about it. For me, it’s mostly about helping districts navigate their budgets, answering questions and continuing to make Kansas’ education system the best in the world.”

Posted: Jan 9, 2024,
Comments: 0,
Author: Ann Bush

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