Archive for Thursday, July 2, 2009

Doll begins work on ‘meaty issues’

Rick Doll works in his office on his first day as superintendent of the Lawrence school district. Doll took over for retired Superintendent Randy Weseman on Wednesday.

Rick Doll works in his office on his first day as superintendent of the Lawrence school district. Doll took over for retired Superintendent Randy Weseman on Wednesday.

July 2, 2009


Rick Doll hit the books right away on Wednesday during his first day as leader of the Lawrence public school system.

First things first, he moved into his office. Well, sort of.

“I’m not going to attempt to decorate the office until my wife gets here and puts her touches on it,” Doll said with a smile.

He had a few meetings during the day and capped off the start of his tenure with an organizational school board meeting.

“We really have some fairly meaty issues that we’re dealing with,” Doll said. “If there’s anything I’m a little nervous about, it’s getting through that first meeting.”

Although Doll has been spending time in the district since he was hired in March, the real work can now begin. His major issues include closing the achievement gap, accomplishing everything on a shrinking budget and reassessing school boundaries.

“I know that the board will be asking me to put some time and energy into whether we want to stay with our present configuration of schools or whether we want to change,” Doll said.

But his first priority is keeping academic achievement high.

“I think we have to continually think about how we increase academic achievement,” Doll said. “I believe that we also need to start thinking more broadly about what academic achievement is.”

Doll says he has big shoes to fill, but noticed the community is ready for him to take over.

“Randy (Weseman, the retired superintendent) just did an excellent job,” Doll said. “And yet, it’s almost like, ‘OK, it’s your turn.’”

Doll was hired in March after Weseman announced his retirement. Doll’s last job was leading the Louisburg school district in Louisburg, Kan. The 55-year-old has been in education for more than 30 years.


Linda Aikins 8 years, 9 months ago

Wonder if his parents lived in Burdett, Ks.

kugrad 8 years, 9 months ago

I can't help but wondering if "reassessing school boundaries" really means closing East Lawrence neighborhood schools, which would be a huge mistake. For example, New York Elementary consistently performs very well, with high student achievement with low-SES students. This is not simply a matter of the school being small, but a matter of focus on students, high expectations, and hard work. Similarly, Corley Elementary performs very well, due in large part to the culture of their staff. There are some other boundary issues in the district, but I'm concerned that some on the board just don't 'get it' when it comes to equity and neighborhood schools. Be forewarned.

LeBo 8 years, 9 months ago

Wow, kugrad must have learned something on the hill. Excellent commentary.

I am very disappointed in the District eliminating busing. They could have made the program fee supported before cancelling it. How many kids will get hit by cars, while the Sup. and other staff drive Caddies to work.

mom_of_three 8 years, 9 months ago

If they made the program fee for busing high enough to cover the costs, then it would probably be too high for parents to be able to afford busing.
When my eldest attended South, bus costs for students living 2.5 miles or closer to school was much higher. It was $280 or so for one kid, or higher.

budwhysir 8 years, 9 months ago

its almost like "ok its your turn" to see how many people we can make mad. Closing schools is only the start of trimming the fat. Just remember that closed schools save us no money unless we get rid of the buildings and do not pay to have ANY staff there. Our biggest source of expenses might be the virtual school.

mdrndgtl 8 years, 9 months ago

This man is a K-State fan and is not to be trusted...

Paul R Getto 8 years, 9 months ago

Good luck, Dr. Doll. Welcome to Lawrence.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.