Interview with Kansas City School Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Collier

Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Collier has served as an educator in Kansas City Public Schools for 22 years. She’s been a teacher, assistant principal, principal, Chief Human Resource Officer, and Deputy Superintendent. Dr. Collier earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas, a Master’s of Arts in education from Avila University, and an Educational Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She received her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from UMKC in 2018. A life-long learner, Dr. Collier has completed the National Institute of School Leaders (NISL) program and is a certified NISL trainer. In this role, she has provided training for educators and school leaders across the state of Missouri. She also received a certificate from the Harvard University School Turnaround Leaders Institute in 2019. Additionally, Dr. Collier is Professional Human Resources (PHR) certified.
Dr. Collier comes from a family of educators, and education has always played an integral role in her life. She is very passionate about education and believes that all children deserve access to a rigorous, equitable, and culturally responsive education, as it has the power to unlock doors of experience, access, and opportunities that would otherwise be closed. One of Dr. Collier’s most urgent academic goals is to ensure that KCPS students are proficient readers. She believes that literacy is a social justice issue and every child, no matter their race, social-economic status, zip code, or education level of their parents, has the right to learn to read. It is a moral imperative, as competence in literacy will either serve as a gatekeeper or a passport to a promising future. With a laser-like focus on literacy, math, and culturally responsive practices, KCPS will be on our way toward fulfilling our mission of every child thriving socially, emotionally, and academically.

Dr. Collier has built long-lasting relationships during her tenure with the district. A classically-trained vocalist, she taught music at Northeast High School for a decade before stepping into building leadership roles. Later, as principal of Border Star Montessori, Dr. Collier and her staff dramatically improved English Language Arts scores and school attendance. As Chief Human Resource Officer, she established a recruitment/retention team to attract and hire top certified talent to KCPS. During her tenure as CHRO, KCPS was also able to increase the number of teachers of color serving in our schools and classrooms. Under Dr. Collier’s leadership, the HR team also made improvements to the district’s evaluation program, onboarding process, and Leadership Continuity Plan for executive- and building-level administrators.

As KCPS Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Collier managed the academic, social-emotional, and operational functioning of schools, overseeing the Departments of School Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction, Professional Development, Student Support, Equity and Inclusion, and Human Resources. Under her leadership, KCPS launched Project “Support Our Schools,” an initiative to help schools address pandemic-related staffing shortages. Currently, she is leading her departments in a culturally responsive curriculum audit ahead of the 2022-23 school year and overseeing academic vision work as part of the district’s Blueprint 2030 future planning process.

Dr. Collier delights in the opportunity to lead the district that she loves and has served over the last 22 years. She believes that KCPS’ best days are yet to come!


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