May 10, 1999
CARNATION--Dr. Jack Ernst, who has been superintendent of the Riverview School District for eight years, will be leaving in July to become head of a 25,000-student district in Springfield, Missouri. Ernst will succeed retiring Superintendent Bud Greve.
Ernst said he has always wanted to work in a large district where he can use skills he has developed over the years. He returned from a second trip to the area late last week. "I can put people where they are effective and can be successful, and I have good organizational skills," he said.
Cedarcrest Principal Clarence Lavarias agreed. He noted that Ernst "gives me direction and pros and cons, but lets me make the decisions--I appreciate that."
Ernst said he also sees the opportunity to replicate what Riverview has developed technologically onto a bigger system. "Although Riverview has been behind the cutting edge schools in the region, other parts of the country are behind us technologically," he said.
During Ernst's tenure, he has seen Cedarcrest High School built and noted nationally as a Blue Ribbon School. But he prides himself on the success of the Senior Project and eighth grade test scores. He has also been instrumental in developing the Multi-Age program.
"We have good people in place here," he said. "This is a great location for kids and a great community. Significant changes have taken place here, and I'm glad to have been a part of it."
Ernst said the school board will be making a decision soon on whether to hire a new or interim chief for the district.
Ernst added that Springfield is a city of about 300,000 located in the center of the Ozarks. The district has 52 schools.
"This is a chance of a lifetime," he said. "It will be a nice adventure."