In February, Morgan County R-II hired Sid Doerhoff as Interim Superintendent, hoping to bridge the gap until the full-time position could be filled. Now, as the district looks into the upcoming school year, Superintendent Steven Barnes has filled that role and is confident in leading the district to bigger and better things.

In February, Morgan County R-II hired Sid Doerhoff as Interim Superintendent, hoping to bridge the gap until the full-time position could be filled. Now, as the district looks into the upcoming school year, Superintendent Steven Barnes has filled that role and is confident in leading the district to bigger and better things.

Barnes was offered the position in March and began work right away alongside Doerhoff. The plan from the start was to introduce the new superintendent to the district and work alongside Doerhoff to get the budget under control and to learn the main priorities as they moved into the 2020-21 school year. Barnes officially took office on July 1 and says he tried to get involved right away.

Barnes was raised in Cole Camp and went to college at Mizzou. After some time working in the department of conservation, he says his love for science and working with students led him into teaching. After some time in the field, he moved into school administration and has already worked in the Morgan County R-II school district as assistant superintendent for three years. He believes this established connection to the district helped make him a perfect fit for the role.

“It seems like things kind of fell right into place,” Barnes said.

It’s no question, however, that this school year will be a challenging one for any new superintendent. With COVID concerns only rising as the start date approaches, Barnes says he has had many conversations on the subject since taking the job. He says he finds it hard to know where to start and where to stop when talking on the subject, as the challenge presented is one of great importance. Even so, Barnes says the district has taken a very serious approach to ensure safety for the students will constant conversations with the health department, school nurses and even in safety conferences taken during the summer.

“Everyone is pitching in and working hard to address and plan for the many challenges ahead,” Barnes said. “We’re so excited to have everyone back.”

Aside from the concerns of COVID, Barnes says the main goal he wants to focus on in his first year is to strengthen the lines of communication between the district and the community. He says he is a firm believer in groups working together in the same direction and hopes to better meet the needs of parents and students alike through better district communication.

Barnes says he is proud to have been given the opportunity to represent the district and hopes that district residents know that their concerns for the upcoming school year are heard.

“People are worried about their kids and I want to know we doing everything we can,” Barnes said.