It has been six months since Stephen Chancellor, Ph.D. came north from Purdy, Missouri, to take the helm of the Centralia R-VI School District after Darin Ford’s retirement, and decades since he walked he family fields outside Pilot Grove, planning to be a farmer when he grew up.
Speaking before a 16-member audience at the Centralia United Methodist Church during the January 9 meeting of the Centralia Kiwanis Club, he said he took his mother’s advice and went to college after high school instead of becoming a farmer. “And I took another woman’s advice, my future wife’s and took a job in Kansas City and became a business teacher in the Belton School District.
From there, his career took him to the position of superintendent of the Purdy, Missouri school district, made famous decades earlier in the movie “Footloose” for its anti-school dance policy.
It was a position he held for seven years before arriving in Centralia.
For the past six months Chancellor forced himself to watch, listen, and learn, he said, “Instead of ring in on a horse swinging a sword.”
He resisted suggestions to begin his tenure with sweeping changes, he said, in order to gain a deeper understanding of how things work.
“If you move too fast you run the risk of “stepping on toes and stopping projects that could have had long-term benefits… If you go too far down the rabbit hole you lose sight of what’s above.”
For the complete article, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.