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Kiblinger finalist for Kansas Superintendent of the Year

Dr. Shelly KiblingerHutchinson Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Shelly Kiblinger is among three superintendents selected as finalists for the Kansas School Superintendents Association Superintendent of the Year.

KSSA has named three exceptional district leaders from across the state as finalists for 2017 KSSA Superintendent of the Year. Finalists were nominated by their colleagues, and a selection committee reviewed the applications submitted. The 2017 KSSA Superintendent of the Year will be named later this month.

This prestigious program honors school superintendents for their leadership and commitment to making a difference in the lives of today's youth, said G.A. Buie, KSSA executive director. 


Dr. Shelly Kiblinger, Hutchinson USD 308

Dr. Kiblinger has served as superintendent of Hutchinson Public Schools since 2011.

In 2010-11, only 48 percent of incoming kindergarteners were “kindergarten ready.” Dr. Kiblinger helped address kindergarten readiness as a community issue. With six Reno County public school districts, a common definition, assessment, and data collection was needed. Using United Way of Reno County as a springboard, she organized and facilitated several county-wide meetings of superintendents and kindergarten teachers to agree upon a common assessment for kindergarten readiness.

Through the support of the United Way, schools, day cares, the Reno County Health Departments and mental health providers, the districts collaborated to increase early childhood resources. Additionally, through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and United Way, more than 70 percent of Reno County students from birth to age 5 receive a free book mailed to their home every month.

The community work has been a huge success, with the number of kindergarteners now arriving “kindergarten ready” up to 81 percent.

Dr. Kiblinger was honored to be in company with the two other finalists.

“Both Sue Givens and John Allison have been a source of mentorship, fellowship and inspiration to me over the years,” the USD 308 superintendent said. “I am humbled and honored to be mentioned alongside them. I am proud to be representing Hutchinson Public Schools in this process. The results gained through the dedication and hard work of our staff, students and community has earned this honor for our district.”


Sue Givens, El Dorado USD 490

When Sue Givens came to El Dorado as superintendent in 2007, the district was headed into a third consecutive year as a Title I district “on improvement."

Givens determined that only by involving staff at all levels and committing to the process, did the district have any chance of systemic change. In the fall of 2007, a district steering committee was created which included teachers and principals from all schools, the curriculum and technology director, herself and a board of education member. Working together, data was collected and analyzed, strategies were researched and determined, and in late fall of 2007, the plan was presented for board approval, then submitted to the Kansas State Department of Education.

            The impact of collaboratively developing and applying system-wide strategies for intervention anchored by progress monitoring has resulted in a continued closing of poverty and disability gaps in the El Dorado School District.


John Allison, Wichita USD 259

John Allison has served as Superintendent in the Wichita Public Schools since 2009.

Unlike many urban districts, which have struggled with major declines in student enrollment, USD 259 enrollment has remained steady.

“Empowering all students with the 21st century skills and knowledge necessary for success,” does not pass judgment about those who can or cannot succeed based on socioeconomics, ethnicity, background of parents or ability of each student, Allison said.

Success for all students is the foundational commitment of the Wichita Public Schools, and the heart of the districts message to the community about the purpose of public education in Wichita.

            As many urban school districts across the country struggle to maintain or substantially increase graduation rates, during Allison’s tenure as superintendent the Wichita School District has seen graduation rates increase 19.3 percent.


For additional information, contact G.A. Buie, KSSA executive director at (785) 232-6566 or email him at