Meet the principals

Learn about the KHS administrative team, including Q&A’s with KHS’s two new assistant principals.

Dr. Joshua Flores

Assistant principal, Class of 2022 grade level principal

 

Lawrence McKee

Path to KHS

• Graduated from Hillcrest High School in Dallas, Texas

• Bachelor’s in social studies education from University of Missouri; Master’s in educational administration from UMSL; Educational Specialist degree in educational leadership from UMSL; Doctorate in educational administration from UMSL

• Social studies teacher at ThunderRidge High School in Colorado for two years and Eureka High School for five years; also coached football and baseball at Eureka

• Two years as assistant principal at Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School

 

Why were you interested in the position at KHS?

I’m not native to St. Louis, but when I first moved here, I was thinking of places to work. You always hear about how awesome and how strong Kirkwood is as a community and as a school, both on the academic side and the athletic side. I knew that’s what I wanted to be looking for — a place where I could feel at home and feel connected to the community — so I was really excited when I saw that Kirkwood had an opportunity.

What is your favorite part about your job?

My favorite part is connecting with students, helping students figure out what drives them, what motivates them, what they’re interested in. What I love about my role now, being an assistant principal, I get to do that without also being confined with curriculum. Teachers have so much on their plates, so much that they’re trying to do, but I really have the opportunity to connect with students.

Whatever it is that a student needs, I’m always here, my door is always open to help and support them in any way possible, and the same thing for teachers as well.”

— Dr. Joshua Flores

What do you think is your best quality as an administrator?

I think I have the ability to connect well with students and staff. That’s what I kind of pride myself on, is the ability to have conversations and to hear what other people are interested in. Whatever it is that a student needs, I’m always here, my door is always open to help and support them in any way possible, and the same thing for teachers as well.

What made you want to be a teacher and a principal?

Seeing my parents [who both worked in education], it was just so cool to see how many people remember them and the impact they had on the people they taught 20 or 30 years ago. So I just wanted to be able to do that as well, tried to figure out how I can have a positive impact on as many people as I can, and education is the opportunity to do that.

What is your philosophy for a school environment?

I want school to be a safe place where all people feel welcome and want to be. So how can I make the time that a student spends on campus the best experience and the best part of their day? This is a place where we should all feel comfortable, feel safe being who we are and respecting one another and respecting everybody’s values. I really want to be at a school — and I’m thankful that Kirkwood is like this — and a culture where everybody feels connected and part of a bigger process.

What are three words that best describe you?

Positive, excited and passionate. 

 

Mrs. Stephanie Owens

Assistant principal, Class of 2025 grade level principal

 

Path to KHS

• Graduated from St. Charles West High School

• Bachelor’s in education from University of Central Missouri; Master’s in educational administration from Lindenwood University; science specialist certification from Washington University

• Science teacher at Ritenour Middle School for 15 years

• Five years as assistant principal at Hoech Middle School (Ritenour School District)

 

What are you most looking forward to here?

What I didn’t enjoy as an eighth grade teacher was watching my kids grow and change from August through May, and then I just had to leave them. Whereas here, I get to start with the freshman class, so I’ll get to watch them for four years. I think I’m most excited to watch kids I never got to see before in eighth grade change and grow into this person they want to be.

A saying I’ve always instilled in myself: ‘Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ I think that’s powerful.”

— Mrs. Stephanie Owens

What aspect of KHS are you most excited to learn more about?

I’m excited to watch how independent and how motivated kids are when they are truly invested. But I think what I love to see about kids, no matter what age, is them finding things they like and don’t like. And sometimes in schools it’s easier to do that than at home because at school you have so many different opportunities. Especially with all the programs I’ve heard that are offered here, it just seems like there are so many opportunities for kids to explore some passions that they didn’t know they had.

What is your philosophy for a school environment?

What I’ve been used to, which I always enjoyed, is a very inclusive atmosphere where everybody’s accepting and everybody feels welcome. Kids have to want to be here, and they should feel good at school. So I think that welcoming environment where we support each other, we accept that you’re different from me and that that’s OK — what can I learn from you and what can you learn from me? I think the more we can learn about different people and cultures just makes you better as you leave here, ready for the next stage of your life.

What is your favorite part about your job?

My favorite part is the kids. I know sometimes people think everybody says that, but my students have seen me cry with them. I get very passionate, and I want them to do well. I think anybody who gets into education, kindergarten through 12th grade, has to love kids first and then their curriculum second. Because if I’m a teacher for you and I don’t care about you as a person, you don’t care what I’m teaching you. So I do believe in a saying I’ve always instilled in myself: “Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I think that’s powerful.

What are three words that best describe you?

Energetic, hard-working and honest.

 

Dr. Mike Gavin

18th year at KHS, 20th in KSD

What are your favorite activities/hobbies? “I am passionate about cooking, travel, exercise and our 2-year-old Bernadoodle named Tess!”

What is your favorite part about KHS? “I love working in Kirkwood because everyone is focused upon students and their success. This is a district and school and community that promotes innovation and creativity while also valuing our rich traditions.”

What are you most looking forward to this school year? “I am looking forward to seeing every student every day at the high school in the live setting. No more Zooms.”

 

Dr. Mike Havener

24th year at KHS, 28th in KSD

What are your favorite activities/hobbies? “Walking, watching my girls participate in dance, soccer, softball and basketball.”

What is your favorite part about KHS? “Seeing all the amazing things that our students and our staff do throughout each year.”

What are you most looking forward to this school year? “Hopefully getting back to the ‘normal’ or the ‘new normal’ with all the learning and activities taking place in person, while learning from the virtual learning and keeping some of those opportunities available for students.”

 

Mrs. Romona Miller

30th year at KHS and in KSD

What are your favorite activities/hobbies? “Travel (especially the beach), reading, spending time with family.”

What is your favorite part about KHS? “I love the traditions that we have at KHS and the community that a one high school district allows you to have.”

What are you most looking forward to this school year? “I am looking forward to having most of our students back in person and being able to resume a normal high school experience. I hate that our students have had to deal with COVID. COVID be gone!”

 

Mr. Jeff Townsend

21st year at KHS, 26th in KSD

What are your favorite activities/hobbies? “Fishing, golf, watching sports, and family.”

What is your favorite part about KHS? “The students and number of activities, organizations and interests they have.”

What are you most looking forward to this school year? “Hopefully, getting to know students better. Last year it was really difficult to get to know students with COVID protocols and the ‘choppiness’ of the year.”