Lawrence High School principal to resign; district announces school’s new interim leader and new assistant principal

photo by: Journal-World File Photo

Lawrence High School, 1901 Louisiana St., is pictured on July 28, 2016.

Lawrence High School Principal Matt Brungardt is resigning after 16 years with the school, the district announced in a news release Wednesday.

Brungardt has accepted a position as principal of his alma mater, Salina Central High, according to the release. His youngest son is graduating from LHS this month, so the timing of his resignation — effective June 30 — is appropriate, he said in the release.

Superintendent Anthony Lewis has appointed Cynthia Johnson as interim principal, effective July 1. Johnson is an independent national educational consultant who has served in various teaching and administrative positions since 1993, according to the release.

photo by: USD 497/Contributed Photo

Matt Brungardt

Johnson has worked “as a high school speech, forensics, and special education teacher; middle/high school principal, elementary principal leadership coach, and district-level project leader in Missouri, including in Kansas City, Grandview, Sedalia, Blue Springs, and Raytown,” according to the release.

Also, Johnson “has facilitated professional development in more than 40 states and for the Association of Middle Level Education and National Association of Secondary School Principals,” according to the release. Her workshops focus on diversity, equity, social justice, social-emotional learning and culturally responsive teaching, among other topics.

In an email response to follow-up questions from the Journal-World, district spokeswoman Julie Boyle said that Lewis has worked with Johnson in one of her previous roles as lead middle school principal responsible for reopening middle schools in the Kansas City, Mo., public school district.

“He selected Dr. Johnson based on her broad knowledge, skills, and experiences as an educational leader for more than 30 years,” Boyle said via email.

Asked whether any candidates internal to LHS or to the district were considered for the interim principal role, Boyle said it is late in the hiring season for school districts; Lewis appointed Johnson “so that the district can fully engage students, staff, parents, and other members of the school community in a thorough principal search beginning in the fall.”

photo by: USD 497/Contributed Photo

Cynthia Johnson

“He encourages any internal candidates who have an interest in the position to apply when the principal opening is posted in the fall,” Boyle wrote.

Johnson earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Central Missouri State University and her doctorate at Baker University, according to the release.

“I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Lawrence High School,” Johnson said in the release of a May 1 visit to LHS. “I loved talking with students and getting a chance to meet a few LHS team members.”

Boyle said via email that Brungardt announced his resignation at the end of April.

The district will host a meet and greet with Johnson from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16 in the cafeteria of LHS, 1901 Louisiana St. It is open to the community.

• • •

Rials named assistant principal

Additionally, Quentin Rials, who has been serving as an interim assistant principal since November, will take on the role permanently effective July 1, according to the release.

photo by: USD 497/Contributed Photo

Quentin Rials

Rials worked as an attorney for six years prior to his second career as a teacher. He served as a math teacher and learning coach in Fort Worth, Texas. He was in his second year as a learning coach at West Middle School prior to his interim appointment, according to the release.

Rials is himself an alumnus of Lawrence High. He got a bachelor’s degree at Baker University, his juris doctorate at Washburn University and his master’s at the University of Kansas, where he is currently a doctoral candidate, according to the release.

• • •

All three administrative changes are still pending school board approval. The board next meets at 6 p.m. Monday at district offices, 110 McDonald Drive.

Contact Mackenzie Clark

Have a story idea, news or information to share? Contact schools, health and county reporter Mackenzie Clark:


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.