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  Carthage R-9 School District

Inspiring Excellence

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R-9 Superintendent Announces Retirement

After serving seven years as the Superintendent of the Carthage R-9 School District and 32 years in public education, Dr. Blaine Henningsen has announced he will be retiring at the end of the current school year.      

Henningsen said, “My wife and I love Carthage.  I am honored to have had the privilege to work with an award-winning board of education and outstanding administrators and staff members in service to our students, their families and our community.  It has been difficult to make the decision to retire; however, we have family matters which require our attention.”         

Highlights of Henningsen’s career in the Carthage R-9 School District include:

  • The district has raised the graduation rate from 78.6% in 2008 to 91.8% in 2014.
  • The district earned Distinction in Performance for Improving Student Achievement for four consecutive years (2010-2011-2012-2013).  The award was discontinued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in 2014. 
  • The Carthage Board of Education was recognized as the Outstanding Board of Education in Teaching, Learning and Assessment by the Missouri School Boards’ Association in 2013.
  • The district recently constructed a new early childhood center using a federal grant and funds raised through a naming rights program.  No local tax dollars were used.  This facility includes a tornado safe area for students and staff. 
  • The district passed an $18 million no-tax-levy-increase bond issue in the spring of 2014 to construct a new intermediate center for the district and to renovate and repurpose the current middle school.  Both projects will include a tornado safe area for students and staff members. 
  • Worked with Sen. Ron Richard and Rep. Tom Flanigan to get Senate Bill 907 signed into law which enables the district to transfer funds already on hand to construct tornado safe areas at the district’s five elementary schools. 
  • Established Bright Futures-Carthage to provide support for needy kids.
  • Established the Tiger Success Network to promote before and/or after-school tutoring for students. 
  • Became the first district in Missouri to join the No Excuses University network of schools promoting higher achievement for all students.

“We are pleased with Dr. Henningsen’s outstanding leadership of the Carthage R-9 School District and express our best wishes for his future endeavors.  Although saddened by this news, we understand his decision to retire at this time.  His decision to retire will not change our vision to do what is in the best interest of our Carthage children.  We continue on with our exciting construction project of a new 4th and 5th grade intermediate center,” said Board President Lee Elliff Pound.

The Carthage Board of Education has retained the Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA) to lead the search for Dr. Henningsen’s replacement. 

Pound stated, “We will identify a specific timeline for the search in the near future and will share that with the community.  However, we do expect to name a new superintendent prior to spring break.  The new superintendent will assume his or her duties with the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1, 2015.”


Golden Key Awards were announced at the annual Carthage Chamber of Commerce Banquet on January 16.

This year’s recipients were: Zach Canfield, History, Carthage Junior High School; Amy Collier, Fifth Grade, Carthage Middle School;  Melynne Ryder, Primary Teacher, St. Ann’s School; Chris Rogers, Special Education, Fairview Elementary School;  Milton Wick, Assistant Principal, Carthage High School

Photo courtesy of John Hacker - Carthage Press

Members of the Carthage community gathered Monday, January 19, to celebrate  the opening of the district’s new early childhood center on East Fairview.  Karla Pesono, KSN reporter, hosted a live television broadcast from the new facility and was treated to a tour by ECSE Director Kim Ensminger, Special Services Director Beth James and PAT Supervisor Jane Goade. Board members and program directors participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony as a part of the festivities.  PAT student Connor Wilkowski seemed to approve of his new learning center as he posed with Mrs. Goade.  Early Childhood Special Education classes began on January 20 and the Parents As Teachers program started moving into the facility on the 21st.  Title I Preschool will open at the new center next fall.  

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Justin Baucom, R-9 Board member, was honored at the January Board of Education meeting for receiving Advanced Board Member Certification through the Missouri School Boards’ Association.  MSBA awards Essential Certified Board Member status to new board members who complete required training, and offers Advanced and Master Certifications upon completion of additional coursework.  Mr. Justin Baucom earned the additional 12 credits required to receive Advanced Certification through MSBA.  Mr. Michael Goolsby, Board Vice President, presented Mr. Baucom a plaque in recognition of his achievement.  

In conjunction with MSBA Board Recognition Week, Ms. Caroline Tubbs, Carthage Education Association President, and Ms. Lisa Sweet, Carthage Community Teachers’ Association, expressed their thanks on behalf of the two faculty groups for a job well done and presented contributions to the Carthage R-9 School Foundation in honor of the Carthage R-9 Board of Education.

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