Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Chief Is Open, He Says Seeks Community's `Support and Trust'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Chief Is Open, He Says Seeks Community's `Support and Trust'

Article excerpt

Kirkwood's newly appointed superintendent describes himself as open to ideas from other people.

"I will try hard to let people know me and work with me," the superintendent, David O. Damerall, said in an interview this week.

"In today's society, one of the first things public schools have to do is win the support and trust of the community," said Damerall, 48.

The Kirkwood School Board announced this week the hiring of Damerall. He will take over in Kirkwood July 1, workkng under a three-year contract that will pay $100,000 the first year.

For six years he has served as superintendent of the Bay City Independent School District in Matagorda County, about 75 miles southwest of Houston. Bay City covers an area less affluent than Kirkwood. But Bay City has roughly the same number of students and teachers as Kirkwood, which has 5,200 students and 350 teachers.

Bay City School Board President Douglas Matthes said: "We are in mourning. This is a guy who added a lot to our district and our community. We hate to see him leave, but we are happy for him."

In Bay City, Damerall involved the community in school affairs. He made frequent trips to lobby Texas legislators for money. Although almost half of the children in the Bay City schools had economically poor backgrounds, two of the district schools earned state recognition for innovation and high achievement.

Damerall abolished tracking, a system of separating gifted children from other students.

"We need to try to teach the way children learn," Damerall said. "If you give a child challenging work to do and give the child the feeling you are supposed to do this, it is amazing how the child responds. If you give a student work that is watered down and unimaginative, then the student begins to think maybe this is all I can do."

Damerall encouraged teachers to bring computers into the classroom. …

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