Good Luck

September 19th, 2019

todd carterELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


The USD 480 administration recently added a new yet familiar face to its ranks. 

Dr. Todd Carter, who has been part of the Seward County Community College family for many years, was announced as a new member of the USD 480 administration staff during the USD 480 school board’s meeting Monday evening. 

“I've been working with the district as a partner for several years, and throughout the past four or five years, we've worked really closely in setting up opportunities for high school students to take classes with us either on campus or through concurrent enrollment,” Carter said. “I've worked with the district before on those things and I know the people in the district and I understand the opportunities and challenges within USD 480, so it's not something that's really brand new to me and I'm comfortable working with the faculty and staff and administration throughout USD 480. They've been really good partners.”

Carter started at SCCC in 1993 as a biology teacher and has worked at the college for the past 26 years in several different positions on the faculty and as a division chair and in institutional research for grants, and then as vice president of academics for the past four years. Unlike his more clearly outlined duties at SCCC, Carter said his position will be more flexible for the time being. 

“It's actually a little fluid right now. I'm a district administrator ... but we haven't been able to fill the director of secondary education position so I'm going to have to assume some of those duties as part of what I do,” Carter explained. “Right now the main things are the Newcomer Center, I have oversight of that. I’ll also be working with the middle school and high school principals and be involved with the redesign projects there. I'll also be working with, as far as the district as a whole, on data reporting and submission, that's something I'll be supervising, and that will include like the civil rights data and those things we have to submit. Right now it's a variety of things, but it will shift as time goes on.”

Overall, Carter said, he is excited to be working with the USD 480 staff and has already begun familiarizing himself with some of the minutiae of the district’s workings. 

“I think the redesign projects are really exciting and challenging. Any time you start trying to shift the way things are done, there are a lot of challenges with that,” Carter said. “I know in talking with Ashley Kappelmann at LHS, they learned a lot of things last year and there are a lot of improvements they'll be putting in place this coming school year, and one of my roles will be supporting those principals in making those changes and improving that implementation, so I'm excited about that. I've only been here about a week but we've been working through the job adjustments and some of the things I'll be working on this fall from my secondary director standpoint. I've also been working on learning a lot of the acronyms and what they stand for. I'm already familiar with the accreditation process and how that works and some of that because in my positions at the college, I attended the superintendents' council at Southwest Plains Regional Service Center on a regular basis, which helped me keep up to date on accreditation and legislation and things like that. Right now what I'm trying to learn more about the local operations and how they work and what everything means and what the district's expectations are for me. For the rest of this month I'll be focusing on getting out and meeting all of the people I'll be working with and getting to know them and understanding their areas. And that will be really great so by the time August rolls around I'll be able to focus on the teachers and students and really focus on what needs to be done.”

And with back-to-school preparations set to be in full swing before too long, Carter said he is also excited to be part of that process. 

“I've never experienced enrollment for this large of a student population with all the different grade levels and all the different involvement of the parents with the parent-teacher conferences and open houses and those things,” Carter said with a laugh. “So it'll be great to really dive in and be part of the kickoff process and see how all of that goes and see what the students experiences are and what the parent experiences are.”

Carter added his main goal in his new position is to make sure the USD 480 teachers and students get the support they need. 

“One of the things I love about this is the learning experience I'll have. As far as goals, I want to make sure I'm providing the right support to the teachers and staff members and everyone so they can do their jobs well,” Carter said. “Then in order to do that, I have to be familiar with the details about those jobs so I know the best way to lend that support. Especially in the next month or so as the back-to-school preparations get more seriously under way, I'm going to be spending time with the principals and directors for the different things around the schools and hearing what they have to say because my main objective with that is to establish that open communication and rapport with everyone so they know my door's open when they need me.”

Carter also talked about some differences he foresees from working at SCCC to working for the school district. 

“At a base level as far as the mission statements and things like that, there's not really a big difference, we all want to focus on students and help them do their best in and out of the classroom,” Carter said. “The main differences will be the policies and procedures. We all answer to different entities like the Board of Regents at the college and the KSDE and the local board of education for the school district, so I'll be interested to tease out what those differences will be and how they work together.”

 Overall, Carter said, he is ready to get down to business.

“I'm very excited about the job. I've been really fortunate in my career to be able to make changes every few years and try something new without having to leave Liberal, Liberal's my home,” Carter said. “So that's been great and I've been welcomed to USD 480 with open arms by everyone and it's been fantastic and I can't wait to see what else happens.”

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