COLUMBIA — People arriving at West Junior High School on Tuesday to meet the first of two candidates for superintendent of Columbia Public Schools will be greeted by a familiar face: candidate Skip Deming.
“An advantage of Deming is his institutional history. He knows what's happened in the district,” said Carole Kennedy, a retired principal from Columbia Public Schools.
Superintendent candidate Skip Deming will be available for questions from the public at 5 p.m. Tuesday at West Junior High School, 401 Clinkscales Road.
Deming held a variety of positions during his career with the district. His first job was as a night custodian. After years as a teacher, principal, administrator and co-interim superintendent, he retired in 2004.
“He's walked in so many shoes throughout the district, he knows how to balance the needs of everyone,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said when she ran for president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, she had the full support of Deming. He encouraged everyone to be involved in professional organizations because they helped people keep up with the latest trends in education, she said.
“Working for him was a pleasure,” Kennedy said, “I always knew his expectations, where I stood and that he loved education.”
Donald Ludwig is a former school board member who worked with Deming on the Secondary Enrollment Boundary Commission. The commission was formed in 1998 to reorganize the high school enrollment boundaries.
Ludwig recalled a time when the boundary maps provided to the commission were unclear. He said Deming had walked about two miles down a stream to be sure that the boundaries shown on the maps were accurate.
“He never took anything for granted,” Ludwig said.
Kennedy concurred, saying Deming personifies dedication.
“When Deming makes decisions, his primary concern is how it will benefit students. But by putting kids first, that doesn't mean others come second or third,” Kennedy said.
Elton Fay, former school board president, said he and Deming occasionally had different ideas for the school district, but Deming was always good to work with.
“Normally, we got things worked out for the kids,” Fay said.
Chris Belcher, superintendent of the Kearney R-1 School District, is the other finalist for the position of superintendent of Columbia Public Schools. He will participate in a public forum at 5 p.m. Thursday at Paxton Keeley Elementary School. A profile of this candidate will be printed Thursday.