Randal Chickadonz, Superintendent, Rose Hill Unified School District #394, Rose Hill, Kan., and Chad Higgins, Maize Unified School District #266, Maize, Kan.
Kansas: Leaders Matter
Nominated By: Gene A. Buie, Executive Director, United School Administrators of Kansas
Randal Chickadonz, Superintendent, Rose Hill Unified School District #394, Rose Hill, Kan.
Randal Chickadonz has been a cornerstone for the community of Rose Hill for more than 20 years, first as the high school principal than to the superintendence in 2003. Rose Hill struggled with rapid growth in the ’80s and ’90s. As the community started to lose its identity, folks watched local taxes sore with new school construction, but they were needed. With Randall’s steady leadership and community first approach, he was able to help stabilize the community through the schools—helping to lower the tax burden on the community without slowing the building needs of the school district.
The district has introduced a new early childhood programs to the Rose Hill School District, moved the high school from a traditional academic school to an innovative Academy focused high school. Chickadonz created new partnerships with post-secondary, business and industry, yet remaining very humble, approachable and reasonable during the process. He is the superintendent you can always count on to answer a question, lead a workshop or just support the process. He is the quiet leader that gives credit to everyone else.
Exemplars of Leadership:
- Demonstrated leadership over two decades in district facing past rapid growth.
- Leadership in managing fiscal burden on community while meeting the needs of the students.
- Created innovative instructional programs from early childhood through secondary education programs.
Chad Higgins, Maize Unified School District #266, Maize, Kan.
Chad Higgins has been the superintendent in Maize since 2009. Maize is a small community near Wichita which has grown from a small high school of 300 students into two high schools with over 1000 students in each school.
Higgins quickly found with multiple high schools, middle schools and elementary schools, it is easy for the community to choose sides and split. Over the last few years, Higgins has led his administrative team and community in a One Maize initiative. Reminding the students, community and staff regardless that of the size of the school district everyone represents Maize USD 266 and the Maize community. Using the hashtag “OneMa1ze” they continue to push the message across the district.
Higgins is a strong leader. According to staff, some of his leadership traits include visionary, approachable and humility. Through Higgins’ leadership, the district has developed amazing school-business partnerships, creative learning opportunities for the students of the Maize community and the autonomy for the teachers and staff to thrive. Higgins is a great supporter for KSSA, providing leadership workshops and support for new superintendents and a steady voice for Kansas Education.
Exemplars of Leadership:
- Demonstrated leadership in managing significant growth in student enrollment in a fiscally constrained rural community.
- Led community-wide efforts to unify the community employing marketing message designed to promote support.
- Developed strong business alliances designed to support student success.