LITTLE RIVER USD 444 SUPERINTENDENT BRENT GARRISON
A PERSON MAKING MCPHERSON COUNTY EDUCATION TICK!
By William for http://www.mcpherson-county-ks.com
LITTLE RIVER – With this profile of the People of Education in McPherson County – we focus on Superintendent Brent Garrison of Little Rive USD 444!
So many folks work hard at making the educating of our future generations work, that we feel it is important to know who they are and get to know a little bit about them, their job, their background and what makes them tick in making their work within their school district tick.
(A side note here – while Little River technically does not sit within the boundaries of McPherson County, we consider it one of the county districts due to the number of students of which attend there but live in McPherson County. Plus, they are combined with the old Windom School District and Windom Elementary School is part of USD 444.)
WHO IS BRENT GARRISON?
Brent Garrison is nearly midway through his fourth year as superintendent for Little River USD 444 and is currently in his 22nd year working in the field of education.
Born and raised just 70 miles south of Little River in the town of Kingman, Kansas and as Garrison notes, “the only time before coming to Little River that I have not lived in Kingman was while I was in college.”
After attending Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas for four years, Garrison went to work for the school district in his hometown of Kingman, where he stayed for years before coming to Little River.
As for his family, Garrison has been married for 22 years to his wife Amy and they have three sons. Many in the area are familiar with his two oldest sons Jace and Jayden as they have been leaders of the Little River basketball program for the past couple of seasons. Jace is now attending Barton County Community College, while Jayden is one of the junior leaders of the Little River football, baseball and basketball teams. Jayden was all-state in both basketball and baseball last season while being one of the team leaders this falls football team as they take a 7-1 record going into the upcoming state 8-Man Division I playoffs. The youngest son, Jaren is a fifth grader at Windom Elementary School.
Garrison admits that while his boys take up a lot of time by watching their sports exploits, he does try to get outdoors as much as possible because he loves to hunt and fish.
WHAT DID BRENT GARRISON DO BEFORE ARRIVING HERE?
Garrison attended Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas where he was a member of the Blue Jay basketball team in 1996-97 that made it to the semi-finals of the National NAIA Tournament by knocking off the top seed of the tournament. Garrison earned honorable mention All-KCAC. That Tabor College team is now in the Tabor College Hall of Fame.
After graduating from college, Garrison returned to his hometown of Kingman where he spent the next 18 years working as a teacher, administrator and coach.
It was in year six at Kingman that Garrison became an assistant principal in the Kingman K-8th grade building before taking over the position of principal.
During his tenure in Kingman, Garrison earned both a master’s and a district level certification through Fort Hays University, after which he decided it was time to make a change in early 2015. It was then that the opening for superintendent in Little River appears, Garrison inquired, interviewed and was hired in the summer of 2015.
WHAT DOES YOUR CURRENT POSITION REQUIRE OF YOU?
When discussing what his current position entails, Garrison noted that due to the size of the district he also serves as the Transportation Director as well while being responsible of all aspects for the district including meeting the district budget, overseeing all facilities and keeping a solid working relationship with all school personnel.
WHAT IS THE OUTLOOK FOR THE CURRENT AND FUTURE OF USD 444 (in his words)?
“This is the beginning of my fourth year in Little River and my favorite aspect of the job continues to be seeing students achieve success in and out of the classroom,” noted Garrison when discussing his past, present and future time in Little River. “Although, I am farther removed from students it still the reason I come to work every day. I care and want the best for all students and would like to see every student find something they like and then become successful at it, whether it be athletics, band, choir, drama, or other activities in and outside of the classroom.”
When asked to talk about those things most difficult about the job as superintendent, Garrison said, “The most difficult aspect of my job is making the tough decisions that need to be made for the good of the organization. As a leader you are judged everyday on those decisions that are made and as Superintendent, I must make many decisions on a daily basis. I feel you just have to trust that they are informed decisions that are made based on what is best for all students.”
Talking about the most rewarding aspect of his position, Garrison explained, “The most rewarding part of the job besides seeing the students become successful, is working with the many great staff members that are part of the district. Our schools truly are the center of the community, and both Little River and Windom community members are very supportive and care about the schools and want the best for them. It is very rewarding working in a district where parents and community members are supportive.”
As for the future of both his tenure as superintendent and the district itself, Garrison concluded his reflections about the job and people of Little River by saying, “USD is currently in the process of running a bond issue (on the ballot for the November 5 vote) to improve the aging facility needs. I enjoy the district and as long as I feel like I am making a difference leading the district, my plans are to be here in this position. I have always felt that the job you have now is the most important and I really don’t think past what I need to do for my district, my community and my students every day.”
There you have it folks, an introduction and insight to another of our many strong, faithful and positive administrative leaders found within the many fine and outstanding school districts within the McPherson County area.
Brent Garrison, Superintendent of Little River USD 444, personifies a man finding total enjoyment and wonder at the opportunity to lead a solid school district for the sake and future of each and every student they have the opportunity to teach.
If you get the chance, like with any others, give Brent Garrison a greeting with a smile, a hearty handshake of support and thank you for being willing to push the Little River USD 444 staff and students to the next levels of education success.
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