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Joel Sherman

A familiar face is returning to the Sedalia School District 200. The district announced Wednesday it has hired Joel Sherman as the next principal of the Pettis County Early Childhood Cooperative. 

Sherman will be leaving his position as the elementary principal and special education process coordinator for the Pettis County R-V (Northwest) District at the end of the school year. The decision to hire Sherman was made by the Sedalia 200 Board of Education during closed session Monday.

The district announced last month Principal Grace Kendrick will retire at the end of the school year after more than 30 years of service. She helped open the co-op at the start of the 1991-92 school year and was named principal in 2002.

Sherman told the Democrat on Wednesday morning the opportunity to return to Sedalia 200 was not something he was looking for, “but after talking it over with my wife and our daughters we decided that this would be a good move for us as a family.” 

The decision is welcomed by the district.    

“Joel Sherman has proven to have a heart for children and has a wealth of experience working with students facing educational challenges,” Superintendent Steve Triplett said in a press release. “As work begins on the new Early Childhood center, we now know that with Mrs. Kendrick’s retirement, that facility will open in equally capable hands under Mr. Sherman.”

The Co-op provides free services for children with disabilities and education to parents through the Parents As Teachers Program for the Sedalia 200, Green Ridge R-VIII, La Monte R-IV, Pettis County R-V (Northwest), Smithton R-IV and Pettis County R-XII (Dresden) school districts.   

Plans are under consideration for a new Co-op facility which is expected to be completed for the 2020-2021 school year. The facility brings a number of educational opportunities for the children of Pettis County served by the Co-op, according to Sherman. 

“The new facility is a great addition for the community,” Sherman said. “It will be exciting to have a facility that is specifically designed for 3- to 5-year-old children. The new facility will allow the possibility to serve more students and at the same time alleviate some of the issues in the district with overcrowding.

“Grace Kendrick has done an amazing job as the principal and she has a wealth of knowledge,” Sherman continued. “There is so much to learn that I will be working closely with Grace to make the transition as smooth as possible.” 

Sherman brings experience to the position as well, according to a press release. He served as a special education and physical education teacher from August 1995 to May 2002 and as special education teacher, process coordinator and nonviolent crisis intervention instructor from August 2008 to May 2017. He also was the Smith-Cotton High wrestling head coach from 1998-2002 and 2009-2015.

He earned bachelor of science degrees in Education/Physical Education and Education/Special Education in May 1995 from Central Missouri State University. He also has a master’s degree in Education Administration (1998) from William Woods University and an education specialist degree in Administration (2017) from William Woods. Earlier this year, he was awarded the Central Region Exemplary New Principal Award.

According to Sherman, his tenure at Northwest has been “great and I am extremely sad to leave.”

“It has been wonderful working with the students, staff and parents,” he said. “My staff at Northwest are some of the best people I have worked with and I will truly miss them.” 

He said he is excited to “rejoin the Tiger family,” and is looking forward to meeting his new staff.

“My goal is to earn their trust while learning all of the processes that are in place,” he said.

Education Reporter

Hope Lecchi is the education reporter for the Democrat, covering all things education in Sedalia and Pettis County, as well as providing general assignment and feature coverage. She can be reached at 660-530-0144.

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