Lynne Hermansen
Dr. James A. Sutton participated in his last school board meeting as USD 231’s interim superintendent.
Dr. Sutton has served as the interim superintendent since February after he had recently retired from forty years in education, while the school board conducted their search for a new superintendent to replace outgoing Superintendent Pam Stranahan, who left in December 2021 with a $425,000 severance agreement.
Brian Huff, former Raytown school district superintendent, will begin his tenure as the new USD 231 Superintendent July 1. Dr. Sutton’s last official day is June 30.
Dr. Sutton addressed the board and public remotely as he was home sick and in isolation.
“This is not how I wanted to do the last board meeting,” he said. “I want to say thank you. This has been a terrific opportunity working with all of you.”
Dr. Sutton said he considered it the pinnacle of his career in education.
“I am excited for Dr. Huff coming in,” he said. “I think he is an excellent fit for the district.”
Tom Reddin, board vice-president, said Dr. Sutton was woefully needed at the time.
“I am grateful for you,” he said. “You went above and beyond what I think the board wanted you to do.”
Lana Sutton, board president, said he was the right leader at the right time.
“You came in and saved everyone,” she said. “Personally I can’t thank you enough.”
Katie Williams, board member, said they couldn’t have made it through the last few months without him.
Russ Ellis, board member, said he appreciated Dr. Sutton’s help guiding him as a newly appointed board member.
“I appreciate when I called about the little things you taking the time to answer my questions,” he said. “Thank you for taking the time to get me started.”
Jeff Miller, board member, said it was a real pleasure to have Dr. Sutton walk “us newbies” through their roles.
Greg Chapman, board member, said Dr. Sutton showing them what true leadership and a Superintendent was meant a lot and left a great impact.
“You walked into a really tough situation,” Nick Robinson, board member, said. “We are a better place thanks to the work you have done.”