Less than a month into the new school year, and the Webb City R-7 School Board has already accepted its first letter of retirement – that of Superintendent Tony Rossetti.
Rossetti will have guided the district for 14 years when his retirement becomes effective on June 30, 2024.
It will be the end of his 29th year in education, which he began as a sixth-grade teacher in 1995. He was the superintendent at Miller for five years before becoming superintendent here in 2010.
He said he and his wife, Christa, haven’t decided what they’ll do next.
To close his retirement letter, he wrote, “I could write for days and still never capture how honored and humbled I am to have had the opportunity to be part of this district. The successes this district has achieved during my term as superintendent goes to the good Lord, the hard work of this school board, the staff, the students and the community.”
Board members said they will wait until later in the school year to give Rossetti a proper send-off.
There was no mention of a selection process for the next superintendent.
Rossetti announced that the Webb City R-7 Hall of Fame selection committee has named John Roderique as the next inductee.
Roderique, now the athletic director, retired from coaching after the 2022 season as the winningest football coach in Missouri.
The 1986 graduate of Webb City High School came back after being an All-American linebacker for Pittsburg State University to be head coach in 1977. His teams won 315 games – including 13 state championships – and suffered only 35 losses in 26 seasons.
Roderique will be honored at the annual Webb City Area Chamber of Commerce banquet on Oct. 26 and at the Webb City Schools Foundation banquet in the spring.
Meanwhile, a sign proclaiming John Roderique Field at Cardinal Stadium is about to be hung. A ceremony for that will be held after the Paint the Town Red Parade on Wednesday, Sept. 20. That event, along with the community bonfire will be held in the vacant area east of Webb City Middle School.
Naming the field was approved during the June board meeting.
By January 2025, riding a Webb City school bus will be more like boarding an airline.
The system purchased by the school board on Tuesday will keep track of when a student gets on and off a bus, whether it’s the right bus, where the bus is and how fast it’s going, among other things.
The cards will be RFID (radio frequency identification) so they can be quickly scanned as students enter and exit buses.
Provided by Tyler Technologies, the system will also help plan the district’s 42 routes.
The cost, including mobile phone contracts, computer tablets and cards for students, is $127,456. Of that, $115,000 is covered by a safety grant the district has received.
Josh Flora, assistant superintendent of business operations, explained that Tyler Technologies will install the system and train personnel. There will be a trial period of operation in December 2024 before the entire system is activated the beginning of 2025.
The board voted for the district to join the Success-Ready Student Network as an alternative to accreditation being tied to scores on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) Test.
By joining the SRSN, the district will receive a three-year MAP waiver from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Brenten Byrd, assistant superintendent for instructional services, explained that the district will use other more frequent tests to gauge student progress. “We’ll still give the MAP in addition to our own tests,” he said. But the MAP scores won’t be used for accreditation purposes.
Byrd was to meet virtually on Wednesday with representatives of other SRSN member districts.
Middle school principal Jonathan Wengert was introduced as Principal of the Year for the Southwest Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals.
In making the introduction, Keith Robertson, assistant middle school principal, noted that Wengert will be recognized during the organization’s state convention and is now in the running for state principal of the year.
In other action, the board:
• Accepted the unexpected immediate resignation of Travis West as junior high science teacher. Since teaching, he has taken law courses and is accepting an offer to become an assistant prosecuting attorney.
• Approved West’s replacement, Austin Grotts.
• Approved a bid of $22,000 to repair a portion of the track on the north side, including the pole vault runway.
• Heard from Flora that the renovation of Cardinal Theater is practically finished – and so is his facilities improvement list.