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The History of our Public Schools
Wyandotte County, Kansas

1844
2012

 

 

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Daniels Named Distinguished Superintendent Emeritus

Staff Notebook - KCKs Public Schools
Volume 12, No. 1
August 1, 2005

KCK Board of Education members named Dr. Ray Daniels as Distinguished Superintendent Emeritus at their meeting on Tuesday, June 28.

The honorary title is in recognition of Daniels' 40 year career in the school district as a teacher, administrator, assistant superintendent and superintendent.

"Ray Daniels epitomizes excellence in leadership," Gloria Willis, president of the Board of Education, said, "His commitment to our children and vision for our district has resulted in national recognition for the tremendous gains in academic achievement by students."

Daniels became an English teacher at Northwest Junior High School in 1965.  He was named superintendent in March 1998 and retired July 1, 2005.

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Dr. Daniels Named 2005 Kansas Superintendent of the Year

Staff Notebook - KCKs Public Schools
Volume 35, Issue 2
August 26, 2004

Superintendent to Retire at End of School Year

Superintendent Dr. Ray Daniels will retire at the close of this school year with 40 years of service to the district and the community.  The KCK Board of Education announced his retirement at their meeting Tuesday.

"Dr. Daniels' commitment to our children and vision for our district has resulted in tremendous academic gains for our students," said Gloria Willis, president of the Board of Education.  "His dedication to the First Things First initiative has resulted in a first-class educational system for our community."

When appointed superintendent in March 1998, Daniels immediately took steps to correct low student achievement, high dropout rates, unsafe schools, and poor attendance.  In 2001, he was instrumental in the initiation of a successful $120 million bond referendum to air condition and make other improvements to the schools.

"I have been proud to serve this community and our children throughout my entire educational career," Daniels said.

"Our school district has a dedicated, hardworking staff of teachers, support staff and administrators who have a desire to provide a quality educational environment for our students."

Willis reported that the Board would be seeking staff and community input into the selection of the next superintendent through a brief opinion survey.  The survey will be available after Labor Day on the district's web site www.kckps.org.

Daniels became an English teacher at Northwest Junior High School in 1965 where he also served as head boys' basketball coach.  In 1968, he became a member of the faculty at Wyandotte High School where he was head track coach.

Daniels became an assistant principal at Wyandotte in 1973 and was named Director of Personnel Services for the school district in 1976.  He was named assistant superintendent for Personnel Services in 1980 and became superintendent in March 1998.  Daniels has also led and served on numerous community organizations boards including the KCK Area Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Wyandotte County, Heart of America Family Services, Cancer Action, the Wyandotte Health Foundation, Metropolitan Lutheran Ministries, and the Downtown KCK Kiwanis Club.

Professional memberships include United School Administrators of Kansas, Kansas Association of School Administrators, the Governor's Advisory Council for the Reading Excellence Act, National Superintendents' Forum, Kansas Superintendents' Forum, and Phi Delta Kappa.

Daniels received his doctorate from the University of Kansas in 1986, his master's degree from the University of Kansas in 1971, and his bachelor's degree from Kansas State University in 1965.

Daniels' wife, Joan, is a retired foreign language teacher.  They have two grown children and two grandchildren.

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Dr. Daniels Letter of Retirement

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School superintendent in KCK will retire
Ray Daniels' colleagues praise accomplishments


By DAWN BORMANN The Kansas City Star

Superintendent Ray Daniels, who led a series of academic reforms that garnered national acclaim for the Kansas City, Kan., school district, surprised many Tuesday when he announced his retirement.

The 62-year-old, who will retire at the end of this school year, was credited with motivating teachers and administrators to make drastic changes at a time when student test scores were among the lowest in the state.

Daniels took over the district's reins in 1998.

The results of his efforts are tangible, state education officials said: Graduation rates are up. Attendance has increased. And, while Daniels himself acknowledges that considerable room remains for improvement, the district's test scores continue to defy the odds. Students have begun to test at or above their suburban counterparts - a feat that schools across the nation have watched and emulated.

Daniels, who modestly refers credit for the district's success back to the teachers, community and the school board, said he would leave the only district he's ever worked for next June.

The district is in good hands, he said, given its strong leadership in nearly every role of operations.

Also, the district's often lauded reform program, First Things First, is solidly in place, he said.

"I told teachers a year ago, we're not in a reform effort any more. First Things First is what this district does now," he said.

Not only that, he said, the community has demonstrated that it will back the district in any way possible.

"This is one of the poorest communities in the state and they passed a $120 million bond issue to help their kids," Daniels said.

For all of the district's success, Daniels always points out that graduation rates, test scores and attendance rates must improve.

"We're not where we need to be. We still have a lot of kids being unsuccessful," he said.

Across the state, educators were eager to praise his career and contributions to education.

"His leadership in KCK has been phenomenal. He has taken over a very difficult situation in these times of increased accountability and public awareness and has forged ahead to make great strides for the students," said Olathe School Superintendent Ron Wimmer. "We've not always been on the same side of issues, as you know, but we've always been on the same side of serving children."

While Daniels has traditionally had a good working relationship with other superintendents, there have been strains. In 2003, several parents and Wyandotte County school districts - including Daniels' - sued over what they contended was an illegal distribution of a sales tax to school districts. Johnson County commissioners directed sales tax money to six school districts there.

However, Daniels maintained that the money was being distributed illegally, arguing that it was the state's job, not the county's, to finance schools.

"Johnson County said, 'You're trying to hold us back,' and our point is, we're trying to take all of us forward," he said. "We're not holding you back; you're trying to leave us behind."

Even though the lawsuit was quickly criticized by Johnson County parents and school administrators, Daniels argued that all children should be educated equally, regardless of ZIP codes.

"The Legislature is just as responsible for the kid at Fifth and Quindaro as they are for the kids at 105th and Quivira," he said.

Despite their disagreement then, Wimmer said he never doubted Daniels' intentions. In fact, the two have been professional friends for decades.

Kansas Education Commissioner Andy Tompkins said the state often called upon Daniels' expertise with diversity issues.

"I can't tell you the number of times we call upon Ray for a variety of support, help and advice," he said. "He's just been a wonderful role model."

Not long ago, Tompkins attended a nationwide education conference that heralded the Kansas City, Kan. district for its reform work.

Daniels started as an English teacher in 1965 at Northwest Junior High School. He said his goal then was to become a high school principal, but administrators quickly forced him into an office job in administration. Many credit his work in the personnel office with his ability to strike accord among teachers, parents and administrators.

At one time, Daniels needed only to hear a teacher's name and he could recite that employee's position and the building he or she worked in.

In an era when many educators leave one district for another, Daniels dismisses the idea he will take his accumulated experience to another district.

Come July 1, Daniels said he plans to focus on his family, fly fishing and volunteerism.

"We want to go to the Rocky Mountains in the fall and see the aspens turn," he said.

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Retirement of Dr. Ray Daniels, Superintendent - K C Star News Article

"The results of his efforts are tangible, state education officials said: Graduation rates are up. Attendance has increased. And, while Daniels himself acknowledges that considerable room remains for improvement, the district's test scores continue to defy the odds. Students have begun to test at or above their suburban counterparts - a feat that schools across the nation have watched and emulated."

"His leadership in KCK has been phenomenal. He has taken over a very difficult situation in these times of increased accountability and public awareness and has forged ahead to make great strides for the students," said Olathe School Superintendent Ron Wimmer. "We've not always been on the same side of issues, as you know, but we've always been on the same side of serving children."

Dr. Ray Daniels Retirement Letter to the Board of Education (.pdf)

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History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 23-Apr-2014

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