Brenten Byrd will become superintendent of the Webb City R-7 School District beginning with the 2023-24 school year.

School Board selects Brenten Byrd to succeed Tony Rossetti as superintendent

Bob Foos

Brenten Byrd is getting a big promotion in the Webb City R-7 School District.

Now in his fifth year as assistant superindent of instructional services, Byrd will be moving into the superintendent’s office after the school year ends on June 30.

Moving out will be Tony Rossetti, who let the School Board know in September that this, his 15th year in the position, will be his last as superindentent.

The board met in special session Sunday to make a final decision and voted to offer the job to Byrd.

That ended the hiring process that drew 10 applicants before the Oct. 31 deadline. Board members stayed after their regular meeting on Nov. 20 to view six video interviews. They narrowed the search to four candidates and interviewed them in person during a special session on Nov. 22.

Rossetti says he wrote letters of recommendation for two candidates but did not sit in on the interviews. “I helped set up the structure but did not weigh in on the decision.”

Rossetti says he’s uncertain about his next career step, but for the rest of the school year he will be helping Byrd transition into the role of superintendent. “It’s convenient because he’s here,” as opposed to finishing up a job in another district.

“I feel I’m well-rounded” in education, says Byrd. And as a former principal, he’s prepared building-level budgets. But in the next seven months he’ll be working closely on district finances with Rossetti and Tim Workman, the chief financial officer.

Byrd says, “It’s a great opportunity for me to be able to work with Dr. Rossetti for the next six to seven months and be involved in those (financial) decisions going forward.”

William Roderique, president of the school board, says he and fellow board members feel that Byrd has done a good job of developing curriculum in his current position and they are confident he is ready for the next step.

Other considerations were that he’s familiar with the staff; as an alumnus he knows what makes Webb City special, and he’s active in the community.

First Webb City grad to become superintendent

Brenten Byrd is truly a Webb City product – and likely the first superintendent who grew up in Webb City.

Not only did he graduate in 1995 from Webb City High School, he remembers being one of coach Jerry Kill’s Bleacher Creatures when he was a student at Eugene Field Elementary.

Byrd’s wife, Heather, is a counselor at Eugene Field. Their son, Dylan, is a junior in the nursing program at Pittsburg State University, and their son, Hudson, is a junior at WCHS. The boys mow the lawn for Byrd’s grandfather, Don Maples, in Alba. His parents are Johnny and Margo Byrd.

Byrd started his career in 1999 after earning his undergraduate degree at Missouri Southern State University. He taught eight years at Webb City Middle School and then was a principal for nine years – three years at Pleasant Valley and one year at Steadley Elementary (both in the Carthage district) and five years at Harry S Truman Elementary.

He was director of special services for three years before Rossetti recommended him to be the assistant superintendent of instruction. Meanwhile, he earned his master’s degree at Missouri State University and his specialist’s and doctorate degrees at Southwest Bible University.

Now in his 25th year, he could retire. But he says, “I love education. I love watching kids grow. I love coming to work everyday.

“This is my opportunity to give back to the community that gave so much to me.”

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