Familiar face to take the reins as principal at Southwest Middle School

photo by: Contributed and file photos

Carissa Miles has been selected to serve as the next principal for Southwest Middle School, beginning July 1, 2021.

The Lawrence school district has selected a familiar face to lead its Southwest Middle School.

Superintendent Anthony Lewis announced Thursday that Carissa Miles, assistant principal and athletic director for Lawrence’s Billy Mills Middle School, will be the new principal for Southwest.

Pending school board approval, Miles will take over the position on July 1, replacing outgoing principal Kristen Ryan. The district recently hired Ryan to become the next district director of elementary schools, the Journal-World previously reported.

Miles said in a news release announcing the appointment that she was honored to have the opportunity to lead the middle school.

“Southwest Middle School is one of many excellent schools in USD497, and I am thrilled to honor the school’s history while continuing its exemplary legacy,” she said. “I am committed to partnering with students, staff, families, and the school community in order to ensure that every student is given an exceptional educational experience in which individual and collective potential are top priority.”

Miles is currently in her second year as the assistant principal at Billy Mills. Previously she served for five years as an AVID coordinator, teacher and strategies instructor at West Middle School, according to the district. She also taught for two years as a third grade teacher at Hillcrest Elementary School. Before joining the Lawrence school district, Miles taught middle school English in the Emporia school district.

She has earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Emporia State University and a doctorate from the University of Kansas, all of which are in educational fields.

Prior to selecting Miles, the district met with the Southwest school community for input about qualities they desired in a principal, the district said in the news release.

“Dr. Miles has proven success as a middle school educator and leader and in connecting with students, staff, and families to build strong relationships, a sense of community, and a positive school culture,” Lewis said in a news release. “She will be a strong advocate for every student at Southwest.”

The district said it would immediately begin a search to fill the assistant principal and athletic director position at Billy Mills Middle School.

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