District fortunate to have a leader like Gaines


“Call the Tune” by Mike Anthony
Executive Editor

Mike Anthony

It’s certainly not a news flash that one of the major problems the Mehlville School District has experienced since the early 2000s is the turnover in the district’s top leadership position.

The lack of tenure in the superintendent’s post resulted in the district becoming complacent with many critical issues not being addressed and a subsequent loss of vision.

That’s why we applaud the Board of Education for voting to extend Superintendent Chris Gaines’ contract through the 2020-2021 school year. We believe continuing to have Dr. Gaines at the helm will provide Mehlville the long-term stability it has been lacking.

For his part, Dr. Gaines told the Call that he wants to stay in Mehlville until his son Zack, 13, graduates from high school.

As the Call’s Gloria Lloyd reports today, if that happens, Dr. Gaines would have served eight years in Mehlville. That would be longer than any Mehlville superintendent has stayed in three decades, including the seven-year tenures of the late Rogers Elementary namesake Bob Rogers, who retired in 1996, and the late John Cary, who succeeded Rogers.

We believe that’s fantastic, as Dr. Gaines has been a breath of fresh air for the district and its students.

As we’ve noted before, Dr. Gaines has been at the forefront of a whirlwind of changes designed to make Mehlville a destination district since becoming superintendent in 2015.

Under his tenure, Mehlville has addressed many long overdue issues and has enjoyed unprecedented success, notably the passage of Proposition R, a 49-cent tax-rate increase, in November 2015. Voter approval of Prop R has stabilized the district’s finances, allowing the district to offer exceptional educational opportunities, including Mehlville’s school of innovation, Mosaic Elementary, which opened last August.

Dr. Gaines is a statewide leader in public education and a prominent player in the national education scene, both of which contribute to the visionary leadership he brings here.

He’s also very modest, as he declines to take credit for all of the great things that are occurring today in Mehlville, telling the Call, “I don’t know that I’ve done really anything other than ask questions to see if we can expand opportunities for kids …”

We believe Mehlville is fortunate to have a leader like Dr. Gaines.

His talent for asking the right questions already has greatly increased opportunities for Mehlville’s students.