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Stephen Kleinsmith, middle, is presented the Superintendent of the Year award by Missouri Association of School Administrators Executive Director Doug Hayter. Also pictured is Trish Oppeau of the Missouri Securities Investment Program.
Photo provided by Missouri Association of School Administrators
Stephen Kleinsmith, middle, is presented the Superintendent of the Year award by Missouri Association of School Administrators Executive Director Doug Hayter. Also pictured is Trish Oppeau of the Missouri Securities Investment Program.

Kleinsmith named top superintendent by state association

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Southwest Missouri superintendents are on a winning streak when it comes to the Missouri Association of School Administrators’ fall conference awards.

Nixa Public Schools’ Stephen Kleinsmith was honored as Superintendent of the Year during the Oct. 5-8 annual event at Osage Beach. He follows Springfield Public Schools Superintendent John Jungmann winning the award in 2016. Before that, a southwest Missouri superintendent was honored in 2012 when former Joplin Public Schools leader C.J. Huff got the nod, according to MASA’s website.

With the state selection, Kleinsmith will be recognized in February during the American Association of School Administrators National Conference on Education in Nashville, Tennessee, according to a news release.

“Kleinsmith is one of the most respected leaders in Missouri education,” said MASA Executive Director Doug Hayter, former Branson Public Schools superintendent, in the release. “He is known for his professional demeanor and his willingness to address the important and often challenging aspects of public education.”

Nixa’s superintendent since 2000, Kleinsmith has led the construction of a new high school, two elementary schools and an intermediate school, as well as expansions to the junior and high schools. Since 2014, the district has added six integrated early childhood special education classrooms serving an average 264 students per year.

“This trust that our community has in our school district is promoted by the way we have prioritized and selectively abandoned good ideas in favor of great ideas,” Kleinsmith said in the release. “Anyone can cut away the low-hanging fruit. Saying no to good ideas to make room for great ideas takes courage.”

Kleinsmith, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease more than a decade ago, plans to retire at the end of the current academic year.

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