The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

November 27, 2013

Joplin assistant school superintendent accepts position with online university

JOPLIN, Mo. — Angie Besendorfer, Joplin assistant school superintendent, announced Wednesday that she will leave her local post to become chancellor of WGU Missouri, a nonprofit, online university.

“A decision like this is really difficult,” she said in a statement released through the school district. “I love the direction Joplin Schools is going, and it’s hard to choose to leave, especially at such a transitional time for the district, but WGU Missouri is also an innovative education institution, and (it) offered me an exciting opportunity that I just couldn’t refuse.”

WGU Missouri was established this year by the state through a partnership with Western Governors University to expand access to higher education for Missouri residents. Besendorfer, who has worked as assistant superintendent since 2007 in the Joplin district, is to start her new position in January.

She acknowledged in an interview that leaving her post in the middle of an academic year “feels a little awkward and unusual.”

But she said most of her “critical work” will be wrapped up by then, as evidenced by the opening of three new schools on Jan. 6. In announcing her resignation, the school district said she had played a significant role in the recovery steps after the 2011 tornado, spearheading the design for temporary and permanent replacement schools.

“This opportunity was not the kind of opportunity that waits; the rest of the world doesn’t always operate on a July-to-June schedule,” Besendorfer said of the timing. “But I’m not going to leave before we get those first three buildings off and running.”

Besendorfer said she first heard of the job opening from Joplin Superintendent C.J. Huff, who serves on an advisory board for WGU Missouri.

Huff said Besendorfer’s “passion and vision” for education extend beyond the traditional classroom setting.

“Her collaborative work with staff, parents and the community has helped to develop a collective vision which has laid the groundwork for Joplin Schools’ efforts to provide a 21st-century education in our community,” Huff said in a statement. “We hate to see Angie leave the Joplin Schools family, but we are excited for her and the role she will continue to play in Missouri education.”

Huff told the Globe that he hopes to put together a job description for the assistant superintendent position and open it up for applications within the next week. He said he will oversee interviews and the final job offer, which will be subject to approval by the Board of Education.

Board President Jeff Flowers said board members formally accepted Besendorfer’s resignation during a closed session at their regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.

“I don’t know a person that is more intelligent when it comes to curriculum than Dr. Besendorfer,” he said. “I think she’s brought a knowledge that will be hard to replace.”

Huff said the anticipated starting date for a new hire would be July 1, the start of the 2014-15 academic year.

WGU Missouri

ROBERT W. MENDENHALL, president of Western Governors University, said in a statement released through the Joplin School District: “Providing high quality, affordable degree programs for teachers and administrators is a significant part of what we do, and Angie’s background and experience in K-12 education will be key to helping us grow and develop our teacher education programs in Missouri.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Embezzler from Joplin car dealerships sent to prison

    A federal judge has sentenced Kathryn M. Stayton to 13 months in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 from Frank Fletcher Ford and Credit Cars of Joplin. U.S. District Judge Greg Kays assessed the 36-year-old Joplin woman the prison term at a sentencing hearing this week in federal court in Springfield. The judge also ordered the former controller at both car dealerships to pay restitution totaling $121,249. 51.

    April 18, 2014

  • Screening of MSSU presidential applicants to wrap by end of April

    The Board of Governors at Missouri Southern State University could be in a position to name a president as early as the end of June, according to a timeline presented Friday by the co-chair of the presidential search committee.

    April 18, 2014

  • Teams from Carl Junction, Diamond advance in Destination Imagination

    Student teams from Carl Junction and Diamond will be traveling to Destination Imagination finals May 20-24 in Knoxville, Tenn., after being top finishers in competition this month at Missouri Southern State University.

    April 18, 2014

  • Neosho Dogwood Tour reset, after false start

    The 53rd annual Neosho Dogwood Tour will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 27. The event, presented by the Neosho Rotary Club and the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, originally was scheduled for Sunday, April 13.

    April 18, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

  • Kansas Regents stick with social media policy

    After directing a committee to study a controversial social media policy and make recommended changes, the Kansas Board of Regents appears to not be changing the policy at all. It’s left some in academia baffled by why it appointed the work group in the first place.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pittsburg Farmer's Market to open in new building, new location

    The official market season in Pittsburg, Kan., will kick off in the market’s new pavilion-style building at a new address, 11th and Broadway, on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. Market hours will continue throughout the season on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon, with some Wednesdays or other special days throughout the season as announced.

    April 18, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

Must Read


A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter