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Springfield school board renews superintendent Grenita Lathan's contract through '25-'26 school year

Michele Skalicky
Dr. Grenita Lathan, Springfield Public Schools superintendent

Dr. Grenita Lathan was praised as the 'best leader' for the Show-Me State's largest public school district.

Springfield’s seven-member board of public education completed a performance evaluation this week. They unanimously voted to keep Lathan on the job.

Board president Denise Fredrick said in a written statement that board members are “confident” Lathan is the “best leader” for the Springfield school district.

"During her tenure, Dr. Lathan has worked with SPS staff, the board and our community to guide our district through challenging times," Fredrick said in the statement, citing COVID's effect on student education.

A news release highlighted several aspects of Lathan's performance that stood out for school board members in a positive way as they made their assessment.

Those areas included updating the district's strategic plan; Lathan's integrity and ethics in terms of ensuring student success; effective communication; and restructuring the district workforce.

The Springfield News-Leader reported Wednesday that the school board has completed two annual employee evaluations of Lathan since she started work in the summer of 2021. The board voted to extend her contract both times. Lathan has a rolling three-year contract, considered the norm for leaders of big public school districts.

District spokesperson Stephen Hall told KSMU by text message on Wednesday that Lathan's current salary is $318,240, and that any annual increases for Lathan are tied to cost-of-living adjustments that might be approved by the school board for all district staff.

Eleven months ago, the News-Leader reported Lathan's salary for the 2021-2022 year was to be $300,000, with a similar link between raises for Lathan and SPS teachers.

Lathan was chosen to lead Springfield Public Schools in early 2021. She previously headed up the Houston, Texas district, which is typically ranked as the seventh- or eighth-largest public school district in the United States.

Springfield Public Schools is typically ranked the largest school district in Missouri, bigger than public districts serving students inside the city limits of Kansas City or St. Louis.

Gregory Holman is a KSMU reporter and editor focusing on public affairs.