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Nixa Public Schools names successor to longtime exec

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Nixa Public Schools picked a successor for a retiring longtime executive.

Kathy Whitworth is scheduled to retire June 30 after 16 years with the district, 13 of which were as executive director of human resources. She’ll be succeeded on July 1 by Mark McGehee, who’s currently the principal of Nixa High School, said district spokesman Zac Rantz.

“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,” Nixa Public Schools Superintendent Gearl Loden said in a news release. “We are excited that Mr. McGehee will bring his leadership to the district level and impact the entire student population.”

Rantz said a search process for Whitworth’s successor was conducted internally and externally, though he was unsure on the number of applicants and finalists.

Whitworth in 2006 formed Nixa Public Schools’ HR department and, since then, the number of employees in the district has increased by 60 percent to 792, Rantz said. There are over 6,400 students, he added.

A member of Springfield Business Journal’s 2016 class of Most Influential Women, Whitworth also helped form the Nixa Education Foundation in 2007, and the nonprofit now has provided more than $100,000 in grants to the district. She has 40 years of experience in education, including 28 years as an administrator, according to the release.

McGehee’s tenure at Nixa High School has been marked by myriad awards, as well as a less than 2 percent dropout rate and over 90 percent of students participating in a school activity or sport. He’s been principal since 2012.

Rantz said McGehee’s salary in the new role is currently being determined as officials plan the budget for the next academic year. He currently earns $120,418 as Nixa High School principal, while Whitworth’s salary is $113,527, Rantz said.

McGehee’s successor at Nixa High School will be announced at a future date, according to the release.

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