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Former Gardner Superintendent Edgerton tapped for Corporate Operations role | Free

On Wednesday evening, a former superintendent of schools in the Gardner Edgerton School District, who earned a Pittsburg State University Educators Distinguished Service Award for excellence in administrative leadership and innovation, was hired as the new assistant superintendent at business interim of USD 253.

Pam Stranathan, an education consultant through ESSDAK, will take over from David McGehee after his contract expires in July. As The Gazette previously reported, McGehee, who formerly led Lee’s Summit R-7 school district, was awarded a four-month, $59,305 contract after the district announced Feb. 8 that the former assistant affairs superintendent Rob Scheib had been placed in administration by Go.

According to a press release from USD253 Wednesday evening, Stranathan “brings a great deal of district leadership experience to the position and is currently an education consultant through ESSDAK, serving as a consultant with Emporia Public Schools in the Office of Education, the learning and student services.”

The Kansas Reflector reported in December 2021 that Stranathan left the Gardner Edgerton District just before three new board of education members who were critical of Stranathan’s performance began their terms. The Reflector reported that elected council members “have made no secret of their desire to end Stranathan.”

“School board campaigns this year in Gardner Edgerton and other boroughs in the state’s most populous county were driven by antagonism over COVID-19 mask and quarantine mandates and mounting societal pressure to get vaccinated” , according to the Reflector. “In meetings after local school board meetings in Johnson County, periods of public comment became an opportunity for malcontents to attack board members.”

Stranathan received a $425,000 severance package upon his exit from the district. His contract was due to expire June 30, 2023. Half of the $212,500 payment was due December 8, 2021, with the second installment of $212,500 due January 1, 2022. In addition, the board agreed to spend $34,900 to provide Stranathan with 18 months of ongoing health insurance coverage, Reflector reported.

“I am thrilled and honored by the opportunity to join the Emporia Public Schools team as the interim Assistant Superintendent for Corporate Operations,” Stranathan said in Wednesday’s written release. “I look forward to working collaboratively with the board, staff, students, parents and community to continue a strong tradition of academic excellence and student success.”

Superintendent Allison Anderson-Harder said she is thrilled to have Stranathan join the district administration team.

“He brings extensive district leadership experience that will be instrumental in leading our corporate operations team beginning July 1,” he said. “I look forward to working with Ms. Stranathan and her commitment to our district. She truly understands the challenges public education faces and will be a true asset as we work together to move our district forward.” “.

Stranathan holds a district-level licentiate and master’s degree in training in advanced studies in leadership from Pittsburg State University and is currently working on completing a doctorate of training in educational leadership from the University of Arkansas.

Stranathan is married to her husband Matt, who works at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts. They have three adult children and one grandson. Her youngest, Sara, attends Pittsburg State University; middle child, Sam, a recent graduate of Washburn University, lives in Minnesota; and her eldest, Cameron, is a student at Fort Hays State University and lives in Gardner with her family.

The district also announced the hiring of Erica Mickelson as director of teaching and learning.

Mickelson has been selected as the director of teaching and learning for the 2023-2024 school year.

Mickelson comes to Emporia Public Schools with a broad range of education leadership experience. She is currently the director of elementary education at Auburn-Washburn USD 437 in Topeka.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to serve the students, peers and stakeholders of the Emporia School District as Director of Teaching and Learning,” Mickelson said. “USD253 and the Emporia community are very proud of their school system and work together to provide every student with a well-rounded education. I look forward to learning more about the district as we build strong and meaningful relationships as we continue to engage, empower and inspire all students!

Judy Stanley, assistant superintendent of teaching, learning and student services, said: “We are very excited to have Dr. Erica Mickelson join the teaching, learning and student services team. She brings a variety of experiences and knowledge in our district. Energy and passion focused on students and learning. We look forward to the 2023-2024 school year with Dr. Mickelson on the team.”

Mickelson holds a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees, and a doctorate of education in educational leadership from Baker University. Mickelson is married to her husband Chris and they have two daughters (Mae 8 and Marti 3). They live a busy life full of education, high-pitched giggles, raising cattle, and lots of happiness. Dr. Mickelson will begin her role in July 2023. The vacancy was created when Dr. Jessica Holden stepped down in August 2022.

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