Thursday, January 13, 2022

A familiar face around here

Ray-Pec High School Principal Steven Miller announced that he will retire at the end of the 2022-2023 school year.

He made the news public today (Jan. 13) in a meeting with the high school faculty and staff.

“It has been an extreme honor and privilege to serve as the principal at RPHS for the past 10 years, and my time in the district has afforded me the opportunity not only to grow as an educator but also to learn from so many incredible people,” Miller said. “I have had the great fortune to work alongside such a tremendous staff and administrative team who have always been willing to work with me through the day-to-day challenges that arise while at the same time having the courage to always push me and themselves to do better for our students.

“I am extremely proud to have the opportunity to work for and serve the Raymore-Peculiar School district, to have raised my three children in the district and watch them go through RPHS, to have formed so many life-lasting relationships both professionally and personally, and to always be able to call the Raymore-Peculiar Community my home.

“I am very much looking forward to the 2022-2023 school year,” he added. “There are so many new opportunities and paths for the students that we are working to develop and to implement, and I am excited to partner with the district and the high school staff for one more year to make them a reality.”

Miller has been principal at Ray-Pec High School since 2012. He joined the District in 2010, when he was hired to fill a new position as associate principal to help lead the two-building high school for grades 9-12. After the former principal retired, Miller became principal.

Miller came to Ray-Pec from the Rockwood (Mo.) School District, where he was an assistant principal at Eureka High School from 2007-2010. Earlier in his career, he was a teacher and coach in the Butler R-V and Warsaw R-IX school districts. During his tenure at Ray-Pec, the high school changed from a two-building campus to a single-building for all students in grades 9-12. There were major construction and renovation projects to expand the high school to accommodate all of the 9-12 students in one school. District plans to hire replacement this year Superintendent Dr. Mike Slagle thanked Miller for his service to the District.

“Mr. Miller has impressed me from the very first day we met,” Slagle said. “To be a successful school leader, a person must be a strong communicator, an outstanding collaborator, and possess a focus on the success of all students. Mr. Miller has these qualities. I have observed that his communication skills are outstanding, and he is very effective at building consensus in a group setting. He works to reach collaborative outcomes that are in the best interests of the people, especially his teachers and staff, affected by the decisions. And, most importantly, his focus is always on the best outcomes for all students.”

Slagle said that advance notice of Miller’s retirement allows the district to implement a plan for a smooth leadership transition. The District plans to hire Miller’s replacement to begin work this summer. The “Deputy Principal” role will be a one-year appointment only for the 2022-2023 school year. With the Deputy Principal working alongside, Miller can share his extensive knowledge about people, processes, and systems in the District.

Slagle noted that providing time for the Deputy Principal to work with Miller provides an opportunity for the District to support the transfer of knowledge to his successor.

“The high school principal is a key position in the district, with responsibility for the largest staff and student body,” Slagle said. “In addition, the high school will implement several major projects over the next two years. These include the opening of the LEAD Center in August 2022, the opening of the Ninth Grade Center (with the accompanying schedule and staffing changes), and the construction and opening of a new Performing Art Center. The period of overlap will provide the Deputy Principal time to experience a full year in the role with Mr. Miller. The School Board is fully supportive of this approach.” Miller is also supportive of the decision.

“The foresight of district leadership and the Board of Education in creating the opportunity for an individual to come in a year in advance to learn the systems, the staff, and the building culture will pay huge dividends in the long term,” Miller said. “It simply speaks to the district’s commitment to excellence. What an opportunity that will not only set the next principal at RPHS up for success but also set the entire high school up for success.”

Dr. Al Voelker, Assistant Superintendent for Academic Services, said that Miller leads with fairness and integrity.

"He has done much to strengthen relationships, communication, and the spirit of collaboration.” Voelker said. “We look forward to working with him for another year, and while we wish Mr. Miller the best in retirement, we will miss his leadership."

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