2018-2019 Superintendents to Watch-Alicia Thompson

Dr. Alicia Thompson
Wichita (Kan.) Public Schools USD 259 

Although new to the role of superintendent in Kansas’s largest school district, Dr. Alicia Thompson is no stranger to Wichita Public Schools. She served 25 years as an educator and in various leadership roles in the district. As a proud graduate of the district, Thompson has brought her knowledge of the district, her commitment to the community and her passion for student learning to her superintendency.

 Recognizing the power of social media to engage with the district, Thompson regularly posts to her personal Twitter page, as she visits schools and attends events in her district on how she is #WPSProud. She is game to don a football helmet to support a high school team or ride a school bus on the first day of school. In fact, the school bus 2018 back-to-school video was viewed more than 23,000 times!  

As part of her comprehensive entry plan targeting academic rigor, social emotional development and engaging stakeholders, Thompson held a superintendent listening session for Twitter followers, allowing for real-time online engagement. She went beyond social media to create a Teacher Listening Counsel comprised of teacher representatives from each school building.  She also enlisted the support of the district’s principals to engage in site-based meetings with their staff to review Thompson’s objectives and to provide feedback.

In her words, as Thompson writes in a column for the local newspaper, “The largest gathering of people each day in Kansas is in Wichita Public Schools’ classrooms. Nearly 60,000 students, employees, parents and volunteers come together with a common purpose – educating ALL of Wichita’s children so they are prepared for college and career success. Our students count on us to make every one of the 2,249 days they are with us days that change the trajectory of their future. We heard what citizens told us last fall about the future of Wichita schools.” 

Colleagues praise the results: “She leads with dignity, integrity, strong communication and a high level of enthusiasm. She is truly dedicated to student learning and outcomes, focused on the right things for her district and her community.”