Two Mehlville administrators leaving posts

VanLaere says she’s ready to return ‘to the classroom’

By Kari Williams

The Mehlville School District soon will begin a search to fill two assistant superintendent positions.

After 12 years in the Mehlville School District and 36 years as an educator, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Connie Hurst-Bayless is set to retire.

Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Vicki VanLaere’s employment in her current role was not renewed by the Board of Education during a closed session last week.

Hurst-Bayless joined the district in 2000 as assistant superintendent of curriculum and staff development. She attended Kansas State University and received a doctorate of education administration and leadership. She earned her master of science in special education and bachelor of science in elementary education and special education from Fort Hays State University.

Hurst-Bayless told the Call she has had a wonderful career, which she began as a second-grade teacher at School District 309 in Hutchinson, Kan.

“I’m in my 36th year as an educator. I’ve enjoyed a great career spanning two states … I really enjoyed working for Mehlville School District,” Hurst-Bayless said.

Before accepting the assistant superintendent position in the Mehlville School District, Hurst-Bayless served as the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the Sedalia School District.

In 2006, she received the Missouri Association of School Librarians service award for school administrators. Her retirement will take effect June 30.

VanLaere told the Call she is “ready to go back to the classroom.” However, she said she does not know where she will teach or what subject.

Those details are being determined by assistant superintendents Brian Lane and Lisa Counts, according to VanLaere.

“I’m sure it’ll be in a middle school because that’s what my passion is,” she said.

In Mehlville, VanLaere served as Oakville Middle School principal, executive director of human resources and assistant superintendent for supervision of instruction before being named assistant superintendent of human resources.

Before coming to Mehlville in 2003, she was principal of Union Middle School and director of alternative education in the Union R-XI School District.

VanLaere earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Central University of Iowa. She holds a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and an education specialist degree in educational administration from UMSL. She received her doctorate in education in 2006.