Dr. Kari Monsees, who is retiring as Ray-Pec Superintendent of Schools in June 2020, has been selected to fill a statewide position with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Beginning July 1, 2020, Monsees will be the deputy commissioner for the financial and administrative services division for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. He will fill the position currently held by Dr. Roger Dorson, who is retiring.
The position is a good fit for Monsees, who is known statewide for his expertise in school finance. Among other things, the Division of Financial and Administrative Services handles funding disbursements, audits, and manages DESE’s budget and human resources department.
In August, Monsees announced his plans to retire at the end of the current school year. At that time, he was undecided on his next venture. Upon hearing of the DESE opportunity, he was immediately drawn to the opportunity to take on a new role in the field of public education.
“The deputy commissioner position allows me to continue to work in support of public education, helping to make decisions and carry out initiatives to help provide quality education for all Missouri students,” Monsees said. “I respect the important work the State Board, Commissioner Vandeven and the entire staff at the department do in support of Missouri students and educators, and I look forward to being part of the team.”
Two deputy commissioners work with the state Commissioner of Education to direct the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and work as the administrative arm of the State Board of Education. The other deputy commissioner is over the Division of Learning Services.
Monsees has been superintendent of the Ray-Pec School District since 2013. During that time the district has experienced growth while earning high marks on the state annual performance report. Monsees guided the development of a long-range facility plan that led to a successful bond issue in 2016. He also worked with the Board of Education and community to develop a revised strategic plan in 2017, followed by the passage of an operating levy increase in 2018 to support important district priorities. Monsees has worked to expand learning opportunities for students throughout his tenure at Ray-Pec.
Monsees is a member of the Missouri Association of School Administrators, and has served on the legislative committee for several years. He served as the Greater Kansas City School Administrators Association president in 2018-19, and was the region’s Pearce Award nominee that same year. Monsees was also selected as the Kansas City region’s new superintendent of the year in 2014-15. He has served several years on the board of directors and chairs of the legislative committee for the Missouri Association of School Business Officials. Monsees is a regular presenter at education conferences throughout the state.
Monsees came to Ray-Pec in 2013 from the Wentzville (Mo) School District, located in western St. Charles County near St. Louis. He had been the Chief Financial Officer for Wentzville for five years. Before joining Wentzville, he served as assistant superintendent for five years in the Warrensburg School District. He was the high school principal for one year and assistant principal for three years in the Moniteau County R-I School District. Prior to that time he was a math and computer science teacher and athletic director in the Smithton R-VI School District.
Monsees is a graduate of Smithton High School. He received a bachelor’s degree in secondary math education and secondary physical education from Central Missouri State University (now University of Central Missouri), and completed his student teaching in Lee’s Summit School District. He also earned his master’s degree in secondary school administration and an educational specialist degree in school district administration from UCM. He received his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Missouri, Columbia.
Although the new position includes extensive time in Jefferson City and throughout the state, Monsees said that he and his wife, Laura, plan to maintain their residence in Raymore.