Andover to search for Evans’ successor

12/19/2012 6:42 AM

12/19/2012 6:43 AM

Andover school officials have begun the process of replacing superintendent Mark Evans, who was named superintendent of Omaha public schools earlier this week.

Andover school board president Roger Elliott said school officials were scheduled to meet Tuesday night to discuss the scope of a search to replace Evans.

“It is not surprising that he was chosen to lead a district like Omaha,” Elliott said. “He will be missed. He has put the performance of this district at another level.

“We hope to find a candidate that will maintain or surpass what he has accomplished.”

The Omaha public school district selected Evans from three finalists for the job. He will become the first permanent leader hired from outside the Omaha district in 30 years.

School board president Freddie Gray said the board had three "wonderfully qualified" candidates.

"We believe that Mark is the person to take us to the next level," Gray said.

She said board members were impressed with Evans’ record of academic achievement, his staff evaluation process and how he works with a school board. The next step is to negotiate a contract with Evans, including his salary and when he will start.

Evans, 53, is in his eighth year of running the Andover schools, a district of about 5,400 students. Evans previously spent 20 years – 17 as an administrator – in Wichita public schools, a district with similar enrollment and demographics as Omaha.

And that was how Evans sold himself to the Omaha board and to Omaha in his public interviews last week: a leader who had worked in a district like Omaha, and someone who again wanted to work in that urban environment.

Evans, a first-generation college graduate from the University of Kansas, called himself "an ordinary guy with an extraordinary passion for young people." He talked about listening, learning and creating relationships during his first 100 days in Omaha.

"He’s already thought through his plan, his transition," said Chris Proulx, head of the Omaha teachers union. Proulx supported Evans, saying he was the only finalist who had both urban schools experience and superintendent experience.

For Evans, the move to Omaha will bring him and his wife of more than 30 years, Stacey, closer to some family. Stacey grew up in Lincoln, where her grandmother still lives, and has relatives there and in Omaha. But the couple is leaving Mark’s parents, who live in Wichita.

"The only reason you do that, I mean, this is the only reason," Evans said, "is you believe you can make a difference in the lives of 50,000 young people."

Contributing: Jonathon Braden and Paul Goodsell of the Omaha World-Herald; Beccy Tanner of The Eagle

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