A former principal of Sumner High School in St. Louis will serve as the next superintendent of the Normandy Schools Collaborative.
Michael Triplett, associate superintendent of learning services for the Olathe, Kansas public schools, beat out two local finalists for the position.
Triplett, 53, grew up in East St. Louis and began his career as a substitute teacher in St. Louis public schools. He also served as a school social worker and principal at several schools including Sumner from 2015 to 2018, along with assistant superintendent of the Riverview Gardens School District from 2019 to 2021.
“I have extensive experience in school turnaround,” Triplett said at a recent applicant forum. “All I know is to help troubled kids, help troubled teachers. I’ve made a career for myself by being that admin who cares, because I like being in front of those guys who are like me, same struggle. You have to be able to relate to those guys, those guys have to see you as human because you are in the trenches with them.
Triplett holds a bachelor’s degree from Lane College, a master’s degree from Lindenwood, St. Louis University and Webster University, and a doctorate in education administration from Capella University. He is certified as a superintendent in Missouri.
The hiring is the latest in a leadership reorganization at Normandy. Triplett replaces Marcus Robinson, who resigned in June after serving two years without a state superintendent certification, which is required for the district to return to full accreditation. Normandy paid Robinson $221,000 in a severance package to buy out her three-year contract, plus nearly $90,000 for Robinson’s retirement.
The state education department took over Normandy in 2014 and has since appointed members to the district’s executive joint board of directors. Last April, voters elected Christopher Petty and Harlan Hodge to the seven-member board as the borough gradually returns to local control.
The Normandy’s board hired Petty on November 29 for the newly created position of associate superintendent for organizational effectiveness at a salary of $176,000. Petty resigned the following day as principal of Hazelwood North Middle School. Normandy’s other associate superintendent, CFO Phil Pusateri, earned $140,272 in 2021.
Normandy officials did not respond Friday to questions about Petty’s new role and whether it violates board policy and state conflict-of-interest laws.
Vinita Park Mayor James McGee told the Normandy board at its October meeting that Petty is “both an education expert who has clearly demonstrated an understanding of the importance of community partnership. … We would like to commend Dr. Petty to play a bigger role in the day-to-day operations of the district to right the ship and help the children be more successful.
In a public forum on Thursday for an update on the state of Normandy, Council Chairman Ron Roberts said: ‘We saw this as an opportunity to get Dr Petty to respond to the Municipal Partnership appeal, that your talent is administratively necessary. “
Petty is no longer listed as a Normandy board member on the district’s website, but it’s unclear when he resigned.
Missouri law requires a one-year waiting period before elected or appointed former board members can work in a position of influence with the same government agency. The law also provides for a life ban from employment in connection with duties performed as a board member at the same agency.
Normandy School Board policy states that “the district will not accept employment applications from board members, consider board members for hiring, or decide to hire board members while they remain on the school board.”
A selection of 2022 photos by Laurie Skrivan, who has covered St. Louis from nearly every angle as a Post-Dispatch staff photographer since 1998. News Photography Prize awarded to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch photography staff.