Newton Public Schools announces new superintendent

NEWTON, Kan. (KWCH) The USD 373 Board of Education has announced the selection of Fred Van Ranken as the new superintendent. Van Ranken will take the reins on July 1, 2020, after the retirement of superintendent Dr. Deb Hamm at the end of the 2019-20 school year.

Van Ranken is currently the superintendent at USD 240 Twin Valley. Previously, he was director of student learning at Smoky Valley from 2006 to 2016 and a high school principal at Smoky Valley from 1999 to 2006.

“Fred Van Ranken emerged after the very thorough process as the right candidate to lead our district,” USD 373 School Board President Matt Treaster said. “The board is excited and ready to work with Fred Van Ranken. Our district will be in good hands.”

The board of education interviewed four candidates during the week of February 3. Each candidate spent a day in Newton, meeting staff members, touring the community and schools and participating in a formal interview.

“We had four outstanding candidates that we had the opportunity to meet and interview,” Treaster said. “Each of them did a great job and was very impressive. It made for a very difficult decision that the entire board took very seriously.”

The board asked for a variety of community input during this process including an online survey and focus groups. The focus groups included teachers and administrators, parents, and community members.

“The community input during the superintendent search was a key factor in the success of the search process,” Treaster said. “We greatly appreciate the time of teachers, staff, and the community to give us their input. It helped set up the process by which the four candidates were selected and was used by the school board as we made our final decision.”