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KINGDOM CITY, Mo. — Interim Superintendent Nicole Kemp has been named North Callaway R-1's superintendent for the 2020-21 school year.

"It's a mixed emotion," Kemp said Wednesday. "It's very exciting, but I also know that there's a process ahead of learning and experiencing the role as time goes by."

Kemp officially takes over as superintendent July 1.

The decision follows an extensive search by the district's board of education, which consulted with a team from the Missouri School Board Association to find potential candidates. Board members wanted someone with "positive energy" to lead the district into the future, according to a district press release.

Kemp, who's served as interim superintendent since July, said she felt the timing was right to apply for the job.

"For me, a superintendent's role is more than just going in and working during the daytime hours," she said. "I wanted to make sure that if I was to put my hat in the ring, I was able to put in the time and energy I think it takes for the superintendent to truly be a leader in the district."

She said her first order of business as superintendent will be connecting with patrons, staff and others in the North Callaway community to determine the district's direction.

"What are our employers looking for as they graduate? What's our community looking for in our district as a whole?" Kemp asked. "Everyone was supportive of our last bond issue, which led to the ag building, our upgraded track, better internet — so what's the next step?

"One of my goals as a leader is to make sure we're enhancing programming and opportunities for NC students so they have opportunities they may not have had in the past," she added. "As with anything in education, it's making sure we're moving in the right direction to make our kids future-ready."

Kemp said she has an open-door policy — community members are always welcome to share their thoughts via email or stop by for a visit.

Kemp has 24 years of experience in education, having spent 23 of those years working for the North Callaway R-1 School District. Twelve of these years have been in administration. Prior to becoming interim superintendent, Kemp spent seven years as the assistant superintendent at North Callaway.

"My experience as both an educator and a parent with North Callaway have always been very positive," she said. "When my husband and I came to North Callaway community, first with me as an employee, I was welcomed at Williamsburg Elementary with open arms. It's just always been home for us."

Her two children grew up attending North Callaway schools, and she said the district supported her when she decided to transition from teaching to administration.

Kemp holds three different degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia: a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and an Educational Specialist degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.

Kemp and her family have made North Callaway their home for the past two decades. Her husband, Chip Kemp, is a director for the American Simmental Association based in Bozeman, Montana, where he provides genetic guidance to progressive beef producers. Her son, Tyler Kemp, a 2010 North Callaway graduate, is the owner of MK Machining, a Callaway County based additive manufacturing firm. Her daughter, Bailey Abell, a 2015 North Callaway graduate, works for International Genetic Solutions and resides with her husband and two sons in Durham.

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