Khris Thexton will become the next superintendent of Great Bend USD 428, effective July 1. The school board met Thursday and voted unanimously to promote the assistant superintendent to the key position.
He has been serving as interim superintendent since Brad Reed resigned in December, taking an early retirement. Reed is on the payroll through the end of June, but is on leave until then.
In commenting on the decision Thursday, board members praised the administrative team of Thexton, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Human Resources John Popp, and Federal Programs Director Tricia Reiser.
“Khris, John and Tricia worked well together in the transition,” said Dr. Larry Kutina. “We are very proud of what you all have done for our district.”
“We have a great person in-staff,” board member Kevin Mauler said.
Cheryl Rugan said morale is high among teachers and staff, who have mentioned greater transparency from the administration. “They have really enjoyed working with Khris, John and Tricia.”
Board member Susan Young said she is pleased to see the administrators spending time at the schools with other educators. “They are there with you; they see how much work is being done.”
“You guys have done a very good job,” board member Lori Reneau said. “You are a great team.”
Chris Umphres said positive feedback has also come from the community. Because of improved communication, he said, school-community partnerships have increased.
Board President Joyce Carter added to Umphres’ comment. “I’ve had city officials contact me about the attitude, the willingness to work.”
Thexton expressed thanks to the board and community.
“This is a great place to be,” he said. “We’ve felt welcome from the very first.
“It’s an honor,” he continued. “We all support each other and that’s what makes this town so great.”
Thexton came to Great Bend in 2013, filling the position of assistant superintendent of business and operations formerly held by Dan Brungardt. Great Bend Superintendent Tom Vernon commented, “He has big shoes to fill but we are confident he will be a good fit for us.”
Thexton was superintendent of Marysville USD 364 from 2009 until coming here. Before that, he was the principal at West Middle School in Liberal. He also has experience as a junior and high school teacher and coach.
In his application, Thexton described his leadership style as open and honest.
“I do my best to discuss all possible situations with those that the decisions will affect the most,” he said. “I plan to generate as much feedback as possible to make the best decisions. I want to make sure I communicate the facts and make sure all people involved understand the reasons behind the decisions.”