Kirkwood welcomes Dr. Jeff Arnett
March 6, 2018
After an extensive year-long search with interviews and application reviews, KSD’s new superintendent was announced. Dr. Jeff Arnett will be taking the place of current interim superintendent Michele Condon who served for one year. Arnett will hold his position as KSD superintendent beginning July 1. Growing up in St. Louis, Arnett’s past careers range from St. Louis area schools, an administrative position in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, school district administrator in northern Chicago and most recently as deputy superintendent in Austin, Texas. As he transitions to Kirkwood, TKC decided to better get to know Arnett by asking him the following questions.
TKC: What made you want to come back to St. Louis?
Arnett: “My family and I love St. Louis. Both of our children were born in St. Louis and we were in the St. Louis area for 13 years. It has always felt like home to us. We are familiar with not only so many friends and people that live in the Kirkwood community, but also things that make Kirkwood unique, [like] the Magic House, the Farmer’s Market and McArthur’s Bakery. All of those places we know well as a family over the years we spent in the area. [Also] Kirkwood is a top 50 school district in the country.”
TKC: Are there any changes that you wish to make to KSD?
Arnett: “Kirkwood is a fabulous school district. My first approach will be to come in with a posture of respect and appreciation for all that has been accomplished in Kirkwood’s history going all the way back to 1865. I want to understand all that makes Kirkwood a great place to live and work and learn. I want to get to know the culture, and I want to develop relationships with people who are important to the community. I expect [it’s] going to take me several months, so I would not come in with the attitude or the mindset of changing anything. I want to wait until I get to know people and I want to hear from them [about] what they think is working and what perhaps we can approach together.”
TKC: How would you describe your leadership style?
Arnett: “Very collaborative. I value the teamwork approach and I like working alongside people, not working in front of them. I want to be a partner here in the process and in the delivery of instruction. I want to make use of our teachers, support staff, the administrators, the parents and the students. With whom I’m working, I want to know what I can do to help that person be the very best he or she can be. I know that’s what everyone wants for Kirkwood, they want to be the best.”
For more information on Arnett’s background and the search process, read Megan Cleveland’s piece “A concluded search: Welcome Dr. Jeff Arnett”.