January 13, 2024

Submitted by Rodrick Sparks

Last month, Rodrick Sparks, the current President of the Lee’s Summit Board of Education, officially announced his re-election bid, emphasizing his commitment to continued progress and positive transformation within the district.

“Over the past three years, we’ve accomplished remarkable milestones in Lee’s Summit School District, and I am eager to build on this momentum,” said Sparks. “Together, we’ve transformed our schools, enhanced security measures, and invested in programs that prepare our students for success in the real world. As we move forward, my goal is to continue fostering a learning environment that meets the evolving needs of our community.”

Under Sparks’ leadership, the Lee’s Summit School District has seen substantial growth and improvement. The completion of over $200 million in bond projects has been a cornerstone of this progress. These projects included renovations to Mason Elementary, Lee’s Summit High School, and the construction of East Trails Middle School.

The district’s commitment to security was underscored with comprehensive improvements to all buildings and upgrades to high school athletic facilities. Renovations to Miller Park, enhancements to the Geometry/Construction programs, and upgraded facilities for the nationally-ranked Robotics program showcase a commitment to a holistic approach to education.

A historic investment in early childhood education was made with the construction of the new Great Beginnings Early Education Center. Sparks expressed his dedication to providing a strong foundation for every child, stating, “Early childhood education is a key driver for long-term success. We are investing in the future of our community by giving our youngest learners the best possible start.”

During Sparks’ tenure, the district saw a shift towards real-world learning opportunities, expanding career options for families. “We want to ensure that every student has the tools and knowledge to succeed, whether they choose a college path or a career straight out of high school,” Sparks explained.

Community engagement has been a priority for Sparks, who spearheaded initiatives such as one-on-one meetings, board-led community conversations, and regular school visits. “Connecting with the community is essential for understanding their needs and aspirations. It’s about building trust and collaboration,” Sparks emphasized.

The introduction of the Classified Staff Member of the Year Award and efforts to secure pay raises for all staff reflected Sparks’ commitment to recognizing and valuing the contributions of educators. The 2023 Levy Transfer, championed by Sparks, resulted in 70% of voters approving pay raises for staff.

“I believe in recognizing and rewarding excellence at all levels. This includes our teachers, staff, and, most importantly, our students,” Sparks stated. He played a pivotal role in revising district policy to ensure teacher compensation acknowledged all years of service.

Sparks’ leadership also saw the implementation of a new superintendent evaluation pilot for accountability and goal setting. Additionally, a comprehensive communications audit was conducted to ensure effective and efficient communication with all stakeholders.

Rodrick Sparks earned Distinguished Certification during his first term on the board, the highest certification any school board member can achieve. He is actively involved in the community, serving on the board of Lee’s Summit Cares, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children avoid drugs, alcohol, and other at-risk behaviors.

Sparks’ commitment to student representation is evident in the implementation of the LSR7 Students Advisor to the Board position, ensuring student perspectives are included in decision-making processes.

“I am deeply honored to have served this community, and I am enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead. With your support, we can continue to build a district that empowers every student to reach their full potential.”