In the latest edition of the Swope Health podcast, One on One with Swope Health, host Eric Wesson interviews Dr. Jennifer Collier, the interim superintendent of the Kansas City Public School District.
Dr. Collier has served as an educator in the KC Public Schools for more than 23 years, as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal. She also served as the Chief Human Resources Officer, Chief of Staff, and Deputy Superintendent before her latest appointment as interim superintendent following the departure of Dr. Mark Bedell.
She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree from Avila University, as well as an Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership and doctorate in education from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
In the podcast, Eric Wesson, the managing editor and publisher of The Call, reviews her background and professional career, including her first job as a substitute teacher in the KC Public School District.
Dr. Collier talks about the “laser focus” on literacy that she brings to the school district, while dealing with kids struggling with homelessness or a lack of stability in housing. While the district has made strides in literacy, she calls this a time to “roll up our sleeves and do better.”
She notes high levels of anxiety and stress throughout society and increasing social-emotional support for staff, teachers, principals, and students. “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” she explains.
Eric and Dr. Collier talk about the importance of reading and explore the socio-economics of learning, how those differences show up in test scores. Additional topics include early learning, teacher shortages, family-school partnerships, and addressing violence with conflict resolution training and more.
Learn about her passion for elevating education, her commitment to quality education for Kansas City students, and her focus on building community engagement and support.