Linkous bows out, citing family concerns

Adams 14 superintendent search: One person standing

A day after a Zoom interview for the job of Adams 14 superintendent, one of the candidates bowed out. 
“After much thought and deliberation with myself and my family, I feel this the best decision for us at this time,” Stephen Linkous said in a statement, according to “I apologize for the timing of this decision. I would sincerely like to thank your organization and the board of education for your understanding.” 
After an hour of a Zoom visit with the then-two finalists for the job as Adams 14 superintendent, one thing was clear. 
Communication within the community is important to both Linkous and Karla Loria. Linkous is the chief of staff for the Kansas City Public Schools. Loria is the chief academic officer for the Clark County School District in Nevada. 
"We have to work collaboratively as a board and the community at large to ensure that this 'is not done to us by the district,'" Loria said. "We have to ensure high expectations for everyone and adopt a 'no-excuse' mentality.'" 
Community engagement is important to Linkous, too. 
"I can take out my phone right now -- I won't because this is an interview -- and call the KCK (Kansas City, Kansas) Chamber of Commerce and see what we can work on," Linkous said. "Before COVID, we worked on a strategic plan. We had a full cafeteria of people.
We got to know them and were able to discuss hot-button issues." 
As a result of that kind of interaction, Linkous said the graduation rates increased in his district. 
"They weren't where we wanted them to be," Linkous said. "We started those discussions with a question about the best barbecue place in town. The purpose was to engage. Everyone has a Facebook page. Everyone has a Twitter page. Our question is how to we utilize
social media to get the word out. 
Loria said the district has to focus  on building trusting relationships. 
"We need to reach out to the stakeholders," she said. "When I reached out to our elected officials, there was a feeling that they were not on the same page as the rest of the district. We were able to meet one on one and allow them to meet me and hear what
we wanted for our students." 
Those meetings turned into quarterly updates. 
"We need to work with the cities and resources available outside the schools and bring those together to support students in the district," Loria said. "If we build engaging and trusting relationships, we'll be able to construct ways to solve problems." 


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