2018-2019 Superintendents to Watch-Dr. Daniel Clemens

Dr. Daniel Clemens
North Kansas City (Mo.) Public Schools 

In a district with more than 21,000 students, effective communication is essential. It’s not enough to simply push information out. Dr. Daniel Clemens has the ability to dialogue with stakeholders, use feedback effectively and obtain community buy-in for North Kansas City Public Schools.

Clemens begins each school year with an all-staff convocation, where the district's 3,500 employees are welcomed back, encouraged and brought up to speed on all major celebrations and areas of focus. He also delivers a major state of the schools address at an annual luncheon to more than 1,000 key stakeholders, including educators; business, professional and community leaders; and government officials.

His communication doesn’t end with those two events. Clemens hosts monthly Leadership Team meetings where he communicates about district initiatives, challenges and concerns directly to school leaders. 

Clemens is a proponent of the idea that people must tell their own story. His actions correlate with that mindset. He regularly represents his district on the state level, testifying on issues of importance. In his community, during his first year as superintendent, he ran a $114 million bond campaign to address safety issues and the need for new facilities in response to student growth. In this campaign, he engaged the community in town hall meetings, created videos for social media, participated in a Twitter chat around this topic and sent out district collateral in a variety of languages to students’ families. The result led to the passage of the bond with an 82% approval rating. 

Online communication and social media is a prominent aspect of Clemens connection with his district. He has more than 3,300 followers on Twitter, where he highlights many points of pride in the district and community and to creatively communicate about snow days. The district website’s Let’s Talk app engages all stakeholders in the district by allowing them to voice their questions, concerns or suggestions in an easy to use way. 

It’s no surprise that colleagues describe Clemens greatest strength as “his ability to connect with others no matter their age or vocation.”