2018-05-10 / News

Kearsley superintendent leaving district in hands of known staff member

By Tanya Terry
810-452-2645 • tterry@mihomepaper.com

Kevin Walworth Kevin Walworth BURTON — Patti Yorks, who is currently serving her sixth year as superintendent of Kearsley Community Schools, plans to pass the baton to Kevin Walworth, current assistant superintendent, July 1.

She said knowing she’s leaving behind the people she has come to know in the Kearsley district makes her sad.

“I’ve been a part of the district since I was a student,” she said. “So, I have lifelong friends and family here, and Kearsley is family to me. The sad part will be missing the staff, the students and the families of Kearsley.”

Both Yorks and Walworth share the unique qualification important to the district of heritage in the district; of being students, teachers and administrators in it.

Yorks taught third and fourth grade at Dowdall Elementary School from 1991- 1995. She was a guidance counselor at Weston Elementary School from 1995 -1998 and was a principal at Weston from 1998-2004, the former Buffey Elementary School from 2004- 2006 and Armstrong Middle School from 2006- 2010. She served as director of personnel from 2010- 2011 for the Kearsley district and acting superintendent from 2010-2012.

Patti Yorks Patti Yorks An addition was put onto Fiedler and Weston elementary schools for media centers while Yorks was in her current position. Technology in the Kearsley schools increased greatly during her tenure. Although she said she was not responsible for it, a health center was placed in the high school while Yorks was superintendent.

Yorks said she wants to travel more after retirement and has made arrangements to visit Hawaii. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Charlie; a Kearsley graduate, and her daughters Abby and Alexandra, as well as her parents who live across the street from Kearsley High School.

She said watching Kearsley’s finances and student performance and giving ideas about school safety in light of all that’s gone on in the country will be major responsibilities for Walworth. He will also be responsible for hiring teachers.

Having started at Kearsley in kindergarten and graduated from Kearsley High School in 1985, Walworth said he likes to think he bleeds blue and gold.

“One of the biggest challenges I will have as superintendent will be in replacing some of our great teachers that will be retiring over the next three or four years,” he said. “We anticipate losing 30 percent of our staff in the next few years and finding the best teachers to lead our kids will be a top priority.”

Walworth worked as a math and computer science teacher at Kearsley High School from 1989- 1998, with one year doing so at Armstrong Middle School. He was Kearsley High School’s assistant principal from 1998 –2003 and the school’s principal from 2003- 2012. From 2012 –2018 he has acted as assistant superintendent for the district

Walworth said he was able to guide the construction of the new media centers at Weston and Fiedler.

“I put a bid out for architectural services, worked with the architect in the design and functionality of the centers and provided oversight through the construction process,” he said.

Outside of work, Walworth enjoys spending time with his kids and heading up north on summer weekends.

He said Kearsley’s financial health will continue to flourish, along with student achievement.

“I believe I am well prepared for the superintendent position as Mrs. Yorks and I have worked hand in hand over the past six years,” he said. “In light of the recent school shootings in our country, it is important that an emphasis is placed on keeping our schools a safe learning environment for kids. In addition to staff preparation, we will introduce additional security features to our buildings, add security personnel and train our staff in best practice protocols to keep our kids out of harm’s way. Next year, we will also be under construction at the high school as we redesign the front of the building to create a single point of entry with multiple security checks for students, parents or visitors.

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