Neosho Superintendent Dr. Jim Cummins reflects on 20-year journey

NEOSHO, Mo. — 20-plus years in education is winding down for Neosho’s school superintendent.

“The higher you go up, the more people you can have an impact on,” said Dr. Jim Cummins, Neosho R-5 Supt.

Advice that prompted Dr. Jim Cummins to focus his experience in the classroom on school leadership.

“Ended up with an offer to go be the superintendent in Wheaton 2005,” said Cummins.

A career path that would wind through Carl Junction and Seneca before getting a call about the top job opening up in Neosho in 2018.

“One thing led to the other and I got to finish my career so it’s been very blessed,” said Cummins.

His tenure includes big-ticket construction projects and navigating COVID.

But also looking to the future, supporting ideas like the possibility of year-round school.

“Would keep the students engaged, more year-round, you would use the facilities year-round. You could add some days to teacher contracts. That would justify even greater pay for them,” said Cummins.

He’s concerned about what he sees as a lack of respect for the teaching profession.

“I think that has been eroded … just in society in general. And I think that’s that’s probably maybe the greatest challenge that public education faces moving forward,” said Cummins.

Neosho school board member Stuart Puckett helped to hire Dr. Cummins for the Neosho post – and says he’s an innovative, collaborative leader who has changed Neosho for the better.

“This has always been where his heart’s been at. He is going to be leaving a permanent mark not only on the school district but all this community,” said Stuart Puckett, Neosho school board member.

Dr. Cummins says he will miss working with the teachers, students, and staff – but will not miss all the stress that comes with the job.

Dr. Cummins’ last day on the job is June 30th.

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