Lawrence school district curriculum leader moving to part-time role

photo by: Mackenzie Clark

Jennifer Bessolo, Lawrence school district director of curriculum, speaks to the school board at its Monday, March 25, 2019 meeting.

A Lawrence school district leader will transition into a part-time role next school year.

Jennifer Bessolo, the school district’s director of curriculum, will begin serving as a part-time curriculum specialist for the Lawrence Virtual School on July 1, Superintendent Anthony Lewis recently announced in a news release.

Bessolo, who is expecting a second child in April, said the move will allow her to spend more time with her family.

The school district said it will change Bessolo’s old position to a new executive director of curriculum and instruction, which it hopes to fill for the 2020-2021 school year. The district said the move to “elevate” the position will be “cost-neutral,” and a candidate search will begin immediately, according to the release. The district did not provide any other details about the new position’s responsibilities.

Bessolo attended Lawrence elementary and junior high schools — later reorganized as middle schools — before graduating from Lawrence High School in 2000. She returned to the school district in 2014 to serve as the principal for South Middle School, which is now known as Billy Mills Middle School. She was promoted to assistant director of teaching and learning, and then director of middle school support during the 2017-18 school year and to director of curriculum in 2018-2019.

“A product of Lawrence Public Schools, I have great pride in our schools and community,” Bessolo said in the release. “I feel so fortunate to have served in this critical leadership role and will continue to support Lawrence Public Schools in any way that I can.”

Prior to returning to Lawrence, Bessolo worked as a school administrator and teacher in schools in Kansas and North Carolina and taught courses at several universities across Kansas. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Washburn University and her doctorate from the University of Kansas.

Lewis said Bessolo has been an exceptional instructional leader for the Lawrence school district.

“Working with our building administrators and learning coaches, (Bessolo) has provided tremendous support for the continuous professional development of our teaching staff,” Lewis said in the release. “Her leadership of the curriculum and instruction goals of our strategic plan has been invaluable.”


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