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District Leadership Leaping Forward with Innovation

Interview with Mehlville School District Superintendent Dr. Chris Gaines

By Mind Rocket Media Group

Despite budget constraints, rapid technology advancements and major pedagogical shifts, Mehlville School District Superintendent Chris Gaines constantly seeks opportunity and ways to say ‘yes’ when facing various challenges.

Like most public school administrators, he faces a lot of challenges when it comes to budgeting and paying for the education of the students he serves. Chris shares the creative ways his district partners with outside, private businesses to bring down costs as they face the increased constraints of a stagnant economy.

He’s also taking a new approach in the district’s elementary schools by encouraging students to set their own learning goals. Of the ten elementary schools in the district, four have begun student progress monitoring while setting future goals. The other six elementary schools plan to follow suit with the ground-breaking initiative in the next two years.

District leadership is also concentrating on high school improvements. Chris reveals a pilot in the works referred to as “Design Your Own High School Experience” that will formally roll out next year. The program gives students credit for learning activities outside of the formal school setting. The district is asking kids and their families to come to them with ideas, promising to do their best to put the suggestions into action.

It’s a very accepting and progressive approach to 21st-century learning that is certainly worth watching.

About Dr. Chris Gaines
Dr. Chris Gaines is Superintendent of Mehlville School District, which serves over 10,000 students in the Mehlville, Oakville, Concord, and Lemay communities in St. Louis County, Missouri. Before Mehville, Gaines was the Wright City R-II School District superintendent from 2008 – 2015 and before Wright City, he was superintendent of the Crawford County R-1 School District for seven years.
Gaines was a principal at Bourbon High School in Bourbon, Missouri, and he began his education career in Southeast Missouri teaching math and science, and coaching girls basketball and golf.
Follow Dr. Chris Gaines on Twitter
This article was originally published on the Huffington Post
Further Reading
  1. Forbes – Developing Our Understanding Of Personalized Learning
  2. USA Today – Is personalized learning the future? This high school thinks so.
  3. US News and World Report – Personalized Learning and Common Core: Mortal Enemies?
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