Nixa Schools HR Director Retires; High School Principal Promoted to Position

press release from Nixa Public Schools

Nixa Public Schools is announcing the retirement of Kathy Whitworth as Executive Director of Human Resources for Nixa Public Schools after 16 years of working at Nixa, serving 13 of those in the human resources position.  Mrs. Whitworth has served a total of 40 years in education, with 28 years of that in administration and 12 years in teaching.

Mrs. Whitworth served in various administrative and teaching positions prior to Nixa and spent three years teaching in Nixa prior to serving as a building principal in Willard.  She was brought back to Nixa to open the district’s first human resources department in 2006. Nixa was, and has consistently been, the largest employer in Christian County, and Whitworth started and grew the department to what it is today through a 60% increase in the number of individuals who work in the district.  Along with her work in human resources, Mrs. Whitworth was instrumental with forming the Nixa Education Foundation in 2007 as a non-profit group with a board of directors that would raise funds to help support the educational programs at Nixa. Since its formation, NEF has provided over $100,000 in grant funds back to the district.

In addition to the creation of NEF, Mrs. Whitworth worked with other districts to create the STAR Summit, which has become one of the premier professional learning programs between Nixa, Ozark, Willard, and Republic.  She also worked to create and currently facilitates teacher feedback programs at Nixa, created new staff evaluation tools, and led the professional learning program at Nixa for 10 years to provide focused training to new and current Nixa teachers and administrators.

During her tenure at Nixa, the district was named one of 417 Magazine’s “Best Places to Work” in 2007, and the district maintained a 91% retention of certified staff and 89% retention of support staff.

Mrs. Whitworth has also served on the boards of the Missouri Association of School Personnel Administrators (MOASPA) and Nixa Area Chamber of Commerce, was on the advisory board for the Nixa Community Foundation, and has led the steering committee for the Working Women in Nixa.  During her time at Nixa she was awarded Springfield Business Journal’s “Most Influential Women” in 2016, Modern Woodmen’s “Hometown Hero” in 2016, Nixa Area Chamber of Commerce “Director Award” in 2013, NEF’s “Service to Education Award” in 2012, Nixa Board of Education Recognition Award for work with NEF in 2011, and was named Springfield Business Journal’s “Human Resource Professional of the Year” in 2013.

With the retirement of Whitworth, Mark McGehee, current principal at Nixa High School, will be named the new Executive Director of Human Resources.

Mr. McGehee came to Nixa in 2000 as an assistant principal at Nixa Junior High and became the junior high building principal in 2005.  In 2012, he was named head principal at Nixa High School.

During his tenure at Nixa High School, Mr. McGehee worked alongside a dedicated staff of educators to focus on high expectations for academic achievement.  This focus has led to the following accomplishments for Nixa High School during McGehee’s tenure as principal: Missouri Gold Star Award in 2012, National Blue Ribbon Award in 2013, addition of Project Lead the Way Engineering and Computer Science Strands, named AP Honor Roll School three years in a row, addition of AP Diploma Program, addition of GO CAPS Program, all End of Course exam scores were in the top 10% of all schools in the state & Algebra II scores ranked number 3 out of 514 districts, dropout rate has remained less than 2% for four years, more than 90% of students in attendance 90% of the time every year, 70% of NHS student body is involved in a school activity or sport, and the Seal of Biliteracy implementation in 2017-18.

In 2009, Mr. McGehee was recognized by the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals as the Southwest District “Middle School Principal of the Year.”  He was named the “Rotarian of the Year” by the Nixa Rotary Club in 2011.

Dr. Gearl Loden, superintendent, stated, “You cannot achieve the successes that we have seen at Nixa High School without hiring the right people and then leading the team effectively once they are employed.  We are excited that Mr. McGehee will bring his leadership to the district level and impact the entire student population.”

Mr. McGehee’s replacement will be announced in the near future.

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