New principal named for Joplin High School

Mar. 15—Randy Oliver, an associate principal at Van Horn High School in Independence, has been named head principal of Joplin High School, the school district announced Wednesday.

In his new role, Oliver will succeed Steve Gilbreth, who previously said he will retire at the end of the academic year.

Oliver previously worked at the West Platte, North Kansas City and Park Hill school districts in Missouri, and the Ottawa and Atchison school districts in Kansas. He also worked for Missouri Schools for the Severely Disabled and in a part-time role with Community Access, a nonprofit organization that works with adults with developmental disabilities.

In a statement, Oliver said he is "honored" to have been selected as JHS principal.

"Joplin High School has a proud history of educational excellence as well as many exciting current initiatives," he said. "No doubt, the future for Joplin High School is very bright. I am anxious to meet the students, faculty, parents and community and begin our work together on the path of continuous improvement."

Oliver was named Missouri Assistant Principal of the Year and was a finalist for the National Association of Secondary School Principals' National Assistant Principal of the Year Award in 2022. He also was nominated for the Culture of Excellence Award for North Kansas City Schools in 2013; honored as the 2007-08 Area 1 (Greater Kansas City Area) Middle School Principal of the Year by the Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals; and received the Governor's Challenge Award for "significantly closing the achievement gap with a diverse population."

He currently serves as president of the Greater Kansas City Principals Association and is a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

He holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education from William Jewell College, a master's and specialist degrees in educational administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a doctorate in education from the University of Kansas.

"We are excited about Dr. Oliver's appointment to be the next principal at Joplin High School," Superintendent Kerry Sachetta said in a statement. "His experiences at large high schools have prepared him with the skills necessary to work with our fine staff to continue to improve services for students. In addition, his work with school improvement in different settings make him an ideal candidate. Dr. Oliver has worked with secondary students of all ages, so he understands their challenges and what it takes for success."

Elementary principal

The district also announced Wednesday that Kern Sorrell, principal of Rocky Comfort Elementary School in McDonald County, has been named principal of Jefferson Elementary School.

Sorrell previously worked as an administrator in the Miller School District and as principal and teacher at Triway Elementary School in the East Newton School District.

He holds a bachelor's degree in education from Missouri Southern State University, and master's and specialist degrees in education administration from Lindenwood University.

Sorrell will succeed Jason Weaver, who will move in July to become the principal at Dover Hill Elementary School. At Dover Hill, Weaver succeeds Bret Ingle, who announced his departure from Joplin Schools earlier this year, citing a family move.

"Mr. Sorrell brings several years of successful administrative experience to Jefferson Elementary. We believe his past work with students, staff and families will serve our district well. He's been able to help improve academics at his school, and his training in instruction and assessment will help Joplin Schools continue to grow academically," Sachetta said in a statement.