Dr. Dennis Carpenter has resigned after two years of service to the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District as the superintendent of schools.
Carpenter, who was the district’s first black superintendent, made improving equity throughout the district a central tenet of his work in Lee’s Summit, working with staff and district leadership to develop an equity plan that was passed by the board of education earlier this year. That plan includes goals and action items to address leadership, professional development, curriculum, student support, parent engagement, and recruitment and hiring.
As part of carrying out the equity plan, Carpenter and his team completed the request for proposal process that recommended Educational Equity Consultants (EEC), a St. Louis-based organization, to the board. They will begin providing equity training, including learning how to recognize and address implicit bias and unconscious bias in the classroom, to district staff in the coming school year.
During Carpenter’s tenure, the district also earned its highest annual performance report scores in six years. The scores, which are issued by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, reflect categories such as academic achievement, attendance and graduation rate. The district earned 119.2 out of 120 available points for a score of 99.3%. The only category that did not receive 100% of the available points was subgroup achievement, which measures achievement levels for students in historically underperforming subgroups, including black, Hispanic and differently abled students and students who are eligible for free and reduced lunches or who are learning English as a second language.
Carpenter also helped develop the Innovation Track program, a partnership between the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College and the University of Central Missouri. The dual enrollment program allows students to earn college credit before they graduate from high school – at limited or no cost. The program was launched in 2018.
Also that year, the district completed its comprehensive facilities master plan (CFMP), which combined staff and community input, data analysis and feedback from a dedicated CFMP team to present recommendations addressing capacity concerns and long-range planning.
“We have understood the personal nature of these conversations this fall and we have heard many personal scenarios connecting to our schools. We have a community that cares deeply for our schools and I want to thank our staff and community for their engagement in this process,” Carpenter said at the time of the CFMP’s approval by the board of education in December 2018.
Carpenter will receive $750,000 to buy out his contract, which the board voted to extend through the 2020–2021 school year in March.
The announcement came on July 23. Dr. Emily Miller, who has been the assistant superintendent of special services, will serve as acting superintendent.