Havener wins JEA Administrator of the Year


Havener applauds Kirkwood journalism during a small reception during first lunch Monday. His wife and two daughters were in attendance. “Dr Havener is behind everything we do here. His support, guidance and philosophy lets the kids do what they do. He’s behind all of it and he’ll never say it or show it, but he’s the reason Kirkwood journalism is where we are today,” Mitch Eden, journalism adviser, said. Photo courtesy of Rachel Hartman.

Ben Cohen, breaking news editor

Dr. Michael Havener, principal, almost let a call on his phone go to voice mail Monday night from a California number he did not recognize. Expecting it to be a telemarketer, it was actually someone from the Journalism Education Association (JEA) informing Havener he won 2015 JEA Administrator of the Year.

“It took awhile to set in, but when it set in, excitement set in,” Havener said. “I had no idea I was nominated by Mr. Eden or Mr. Wade.”

Under Havener, KHS opened a new journalism building (SJ) at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. The $2.5 million facility includes a lecture hall, computer lab, broadcast studio, portrait studio, kitchen, conference room and editor’s office. The new SJ is utilized daily by more than 260 students on Call, Pioneer Yearbook, KHTV and introductory journalism students. Havener is the third KSD administrator to win the award, most recently Franklin McCallie in 1999. KSD has won the award more than any other district in the country.

“I believe that if we’re truly going to have an experience where kids are going to learn hands-on about the First Amendment and the rights and responsibilities that go along with it, a program like ours is the best possible way of doing it,” Havener said. “Without the past and present journalism students or the support of the community, none of this would be possible. It’s all a team effort.”

Havener, who has served as KHS principal since 2011, will receive the award Nov. 14 at the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Orlando, Florida with his wife and two daughters in attendance.

“This award is a Kirkwood award, not a Mike Havener award,” Havener said. “I’m looking forward to bragging about what our students do and letting everyone in the country know what Kirkwood journalism is all about.”