Wildcat Thursday Thread

Dr. Keith White 4/8/21

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We have had a great second semester so far and plan to finish the school year Wildcat Strong!

There are many great learning opportunities and activities happening throughout our schools every day. Please continue to follow our Facebook pages, Twitter, and website for updates and information. Below you will see a few examples of the many great things going on in our district. We have had a great second semester so far and look forward to improving daily for each Diamond R-IV student and staff member to BE THE CHANGE throughout the rest of the spring semester!


Dr. Keith White, Superintendent

We have hosted two great Comprehensive School Improvement (CSIP) and Strategic Planning meetings the past two Mondays!

The past two Monday evenings we have had 25 CSIP committee members working collaboratively to develop our Diamond R-IV CSIP/Strategic plan to help us to set the mission, vision, beliefs, and goals for our school district for the future. The committee includes Barb Badley (Board President), Kay Culbertson (Board Vice President), Tracy Danner (Board Treasurer), Chris Macy (Board Member), Matt Housh (Board Member), Craig Daniel (Board Member), Preston Wright (Board Member), Dr. Keith White (Superintendent), David Smith (Board Secretary), Dr. Laura Weaver (SPED Director), Cindy Sprague (Curriculum Director), Chris Nelson (Technology Director), Ron Gray (Maintenance Director), Chris Mettlach (High School Principal), Lisa Northup (Elementary Principal), Tina Wilson (Elementary Teacher), Jennifer Gray (High School Teacher/Booster Club/Parent), Monica Clement (Booster Club/Parent), James Lorenzen (Parent/Community Member), Steve Haskins (Community Member/Business Leader), Diane Smith (Community Member), Mike Navarro (Community Member), Brandon Webb (Parent/Community Member/Business Leader), Jessi Whitehead (Alumni Association), and planning to attend the next two meetings are Shane McDermott (Community Member/Parent) and Ashley Moore (Community Member/Parent). A special thank you to Dr. Matt Teeter (Superintendent at Willard Schools) and FiredUp Consulting Group for helping organize, plan, and facilitate our CSIP/Strategic planning!

Mr. Mac Whitehead was hired on April 5th to be our Middle School Principal for the 2021-2022 school year.

I want to say how excited I am to be the new building leader at Diamond Middle School. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to be a part of the leadership team in Diamond.


My wife Melody, who is the elementary principal in Verona, and I share five children in our blended family. Our oldest daughters, Marquise and Lakyne, are both married and Lakyne and her husband Jason have given us one beautiful granddaughter, Rayne Elizabeth. Our three youngest are still attending high school. Jake will graduate from Seneca this May and Riley and Garrison will be finishing their 9th grade year at Webb City. A couple of my favorite things to do is watch Riley play soccer and listen to Garrison play his guitar and sing. And of course there is being the best “Pow-Pow” to my sweet baby Rayne.


I graduated from Seneca High School and attended Missouri Southern State University where I graduated with my teaching certificate in grades 5-9 math and social studies. I completed my Master’s of Education in Secondary Administration from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri. My Educational Specialist degree I earned from William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri.


My teaching experience began in Branson, Missouri at Branson Junior High where I taught 7th and 8th grade math for eight years. Next I worked in Seneca teaching junior high math before my coaching career moved me to Pierce City and Neosho in the same teaching area. Before I came to Diamond, I worked in Seneca as the junior high physical education teacher for five years. I am finishing my third year of teaching at Diamond High School.


I am passionate about my work and having the opportunity to work with young people. I believe that all students have the potential for success, it is our job as educators to help them reach their full potential. My vision for Diamond Middle School is to provide a well-rounded education for all students so that they might transition easily into the high school setting. I believe in providing the students an environment where they feel safe and are enthusiastic about learning. I feel very blessed by this opportunity to work with the students, staff, and community of Diamond Middle School. Working together I know we can achieve success for our students.

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Mr. Anthony Ficken was hired on April 5th to be our K-12 Dean of Students, Assistant Principal, and Instructional Interventionist for the 2021-2022 school year.

Originally from St. Louis, MO, Anthony Ficken relocated to Joplin in 2010. In 2012 he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education from Missouri Southern State University. Mr. Ficken is also a 2020 graduate from Missouri Southern State University with a Master of Science Degree in Education Administration. He intends to continue his education in the fall of 2021 working towards his doctorate in Educational Leadership at The University of Missouri Columbia.


With his degree in middle school and secondary social sciences, Mr. Ficken began his teaching career in Liberal, MO. There, he taught 7th-9th grade social studies. Since 2015, he has been employed by the Joplin School District as an 8th grade American history teacher.

In his previous role at Joplin Schools, Mr. Ficken was successful in leading a team of teachers that developed and implemented behavior plans for high need students. In this leadership role, he developed systems, expectations, and training for the entire staff. Having seen success, he took the opportunity to create additional systems that increased student achievement. During his time in Joplin, he was nominated for the Golden Apple Award for two consecutive years.


Mr. Ficken’s personal growth and achievement drove him towards educational administration. His leadership philosophy is focused on developing others as leaders, having a strong belief that a staff of leaders allows for teachers to drive change organically. Mr. Ficken seeks to enhance culture by supporting principals, teachers, and students.


In his personal life, Mr. Ficken is married to his best friend and wife of twelve years, Samantha. He has two bright and high-spirited sons, Noah (11) and Luke (5). He enjoys playing guitar on the worship team at his local church. In his free time, he is an avid reader of professional development books, enjoys home improvement projects, and spending time with family and friends.

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Wildcat Spotlights!

The Winter seasons for our Diamond R-IV activities finished well and our Spring seasons are off to a great start. Below are pictures of our Battlecat Wrestlers and Lady Wildcat Softball team. Please come support our Spring sports/activities as we continue to have high hopes for a great spring season for our activities and school organizations to be Wildcat Strong!.

Our DHS Battle Cats finished the wrestling season with four state qualifiers and two state medalist!

Junior Lady Battlecat wrestler Josey Crisp qualified for the Girls State Wrestling Tournament held on March 9th and finished the season with a 25-9 record and as the first female state qualifier in school history. Juniors Ty Douglas, Tyler May, and Landon Clement also qualified for the Boys State Wrestling Tournament held on March 10th. Ty Douglas finished the season with a 30-9 record, Landon Clement finished in third place with a 37-2 record (state medalist, all-state, academic all-state, and highest finish in school history), and Tyler May finished in 4th place with a 30-9 record (state medalist and all-state).

Lady Wildcat Softball team starts the season 9-1!

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District Project Updates

The front of our School District property along Highway 59 has been cleaned up and a digital district sign has been purchased to be installed soon. We are also installing a handicap ramp from the new football/track restrooms and concession stand. Progress as promised!
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Elementary Para Position, Substitute Teachers, Bus Drivers, & Custodians needed!

Diamond Elementary is currently seeking an individual who loves kids and wants to make a difference in their lives as an Educational Paraprofessional. If you or you know of someone who has at least 60 hours college credit and would be a great team member for the DES team please complete an application online at diamondwildcats.org, click on the JOB OPENINGS tab, and contact the DES office at 417-325-5189.


Do you know someone interested in becoming a substitute teacher and do not have 60 hours of college courses yet? No problem as DESE has modified the requirements due to COVID https://dese.mo.gov/educator-quality/certification/substitute-teachers. If you are interested in daily making a positive difference in our schools for students go to diamondwildcats.org and click on the JOB OPENINGS tab. Follow the instructions and fill out an application for SUBSTITUTE TEACHER. You will be able to attach your sub certificate from DESE to the application. Once the application is complete, well will send the applicant an employment packet and once returned, they will be added to the district sub list.


If you are interested in being a bus driver or custodian for the Diamond R-IV School District, please follow this link: https://diamond.tedk12.com/hire/index.aspx.

COVID-19 Dashbaord

Our positive COVID-19 numbers and quarantined students has continued to be very low districtwide with zero current positive student cases, zero current staff positive cases, and only two students quarantined. You can check our current numbers at the following COVID-19 District Dashboard which is updated regularly.