Wildcat Thursday Thread

Dr. Keith White 6/2/22

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We have had a great school year and finished Wildcat Strong!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our parents and guardians for the opportunity to educate your children during the 2021-2022 school year! I would also like to thank our community members for the many contributions, both of time and money, to support each program our students were fortunate enough to be a part of. Additionally, I would like to thank all of our Diamond R-IV Board of Education members, administrators, teachers, support staff, and our incredible students for all of your hard work to help make this a great school year.

You all are my second official group as your Superintendent and I am very thankful for each of you. I have challenged our entire school district and community to continue to BE THE CHANGE and thank you all for being flexible and willing to do what was needed all year long. I have enjoyed the ups and the downs throughout this school year through many sports competitions, academic achievements, fine arts, and practical art demonstrations and displays. I have observed many examples this past year that set our community and school district apart that make us Wildcat Strong!

There were many great learning opportunities and activities happening throughout our schools every day this school year and I saw many examples of people doing everything they could to help our students succeed. 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 including our new admin hires, end of year celebrations, and activities including our Lady Cats State Championship. We have had a great school year and look forward to improving daily for each Diamond R-IV student and staff member to continue to BE THE CHANGE to prepare for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year! I hope everyone has a great summer and we look forward to continuing to work hard all summer to help our school district to be ready to welcome our students back in the fall!

Dr. Keith White, Superintendent

Anthony Ficken Hired as our High School Principal

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 middle school and secondary social sciences degree, Mr. Ficken began his teaching career in Liberal, MO. There, he taught 7th-9th grade social studies. In 2015, he was employed by the Joplin School District as an 8th-grade American history teacher. During his time in Joplin, he was nominated for the Golden Apple Award for two consecutive years.

In 2021, Mr. Ficken joined the Diamond School District as the new Dean of Students K-12. In this role, Mr. Ficken successfully led a team of teachers that developed and implemented behavior plans for high-need students. In addition, he developed systems, expectations, and training for the entire staff through his leadership.

Mr. Ficken’s personal growth and achievement drove him towards educational administration. His leadership philosophy focuses on developing others as leaders, having a strong belief that a staff of leaders allows teachers to drive change organically. In addition, Mr. Ficken seeks to enhance school 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 (12) and Luke (6). He enjoys playing guitar on the worship team at his local church. In his free time, he is an avid reader of personal development books, enjoys home improvement projects, and spends time with family and friends.

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Matt McKee hired as our Activities Director

I’m honored for the opportunity given to me by the Diamond School District to be part of the leadership team as the Activities Director. Being involved in athletics and activities was a huge part of shaping the person I am today. I’m excited about this leadership role because it will allow me to have a positive impact on all of our district activities and build on the many great things that are already in place.

I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart, Monica, for almost 20 years. She is a Physician Assistant at Mercy Family Medicine in Joplin. We have two boys, Mathis and Maddox, who keep us busy nonstop. Mathis is 6 and just finished kindergarten at Carl Junction, and Maddox is 3. Our boys enjoy being active outside with all kinds of activities. They both enjoy playing soccer, basketball, football, and baseball in the back yard as well as going for hikes and spending time at their grandparent's farm.

I graduated from Liberal High School and then attended Pittsburg State University where I earned my bachelor's degree in physical education, as well as master’s degrees in human performance and educational leadership. I’ve taught in a few different school districts and this next year will be my 16th in education. Most recently, I was the head football coach and physical education teacher at Liberal High School for the last 5 years before coming to Diamond.

I’ve really enjoyed my first year at Diamond and I’m looking forward to working with our administration, staff, students, and community to help improve all that we do here. Having great coaches and administrators is the main reason I got into education. Through this new role, I hope to have a positive influence on our students in the same way the great leaders in my life influenced me.

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Eric Henningsen hired as our K-12 Dean of Students and Assistant Principal

Eric Henningsen was born and raised in St. Charles, MO. In 2013 he graduated from Missouri State with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. This past April, Mr. Henningsen graduated from William Woods University with a Master in Education Administration degree.

Mr. Henningsen began his teaching career in Hallsville, MO. In his first 7 years of teaching he taught middle school math, physical education, health, and body conditioning. While at Hallsville Mr. Henningsen also coached football, basketball, and baseball.

Last summer Mr. Henningsen and his family relocated to the Southwest MO area. This past school year Mr. Henningsen taught physical education at Diamond Elementary. He was an assistant coach for varsity football and the middle school boys basketball coach.

Mr. Henningsen values strong connections with students, staff, and community members. He strives to influence a positive culture in each building and the sports programs he is involved in. Eric is passionate about helping others achieve at their highest potential. Mr. Henningsen’s utmost priority is the safety and success of each student and member of the Diamond School district.

Mr. Henningsen and his wife of three years, Erica, met in their first year of teaching and share a passion for education and being life-long learners. They have a sweet and adventurous two-year-old daughter, Brynn. Quality time spent with family and friends is a top value for the Henningsens. In his free time, Mr. Henningsen enjoys staying active by exercising and playing golf.

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On May 13th we held our district End of Year Staff Luncheon and Celebration!

Congratulations to our Diamond R-IV retirees for all of your dedicated years of service to our students and school district; Linda Garrow, Arthur Petty, Becky Johnson, Richard Curran, Marty Falling, Larry Landers (not pictured), and Julia Price-Allison (not pictured)! Also we recognized our staff with service pins for 5, 10, 15, and 20 years of service to our school district. Additionally, we announced our 2022 Diamond Gem Award winners based on recommendations from students, staff, and our community. Our Support Staff winners are Joe Ellis and Doug Hansford from our maintenance team, our Staff Member of the year is DHS Chris Mettlach (current DHS principal), and our district Educator of the year is First Grade Teacher Emilee Baker whose father Mark Baker surprised her by announcing her award. A special thank you goes to Beth Baker and our Central Office team for planning an amazing celebration, Ben Taylor (Diamond Alumni) from Golden Corral for donating lunch, and to Deputy Joe and the Kitty Cats made up of Anthony Ficken (new DHS principal) Sean Kelley (DMS counselor), and Officer Joe Childers for an incredible concert for our entertainment.

We held graduation for the Class of 2022 Seniors on May 13th and it was a great success. Congratulations Seniors!

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8th Grade Promotion Celebration was a great success!

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Kindergarten Graduation was a great success!

Wildcat Spotlights!

The Spring seasons for our Diamond R-IV activities are wrapped up with our Lady Wildcats winning the Class 2 State Championship, Wildcat Baseball team finished as the Runner-up in Class 3 District 11, and three track athletes competed at the state track meet. Below are pictures of some of our spring activities. Please keep supporting our Wildcats throughout the summer as we continue to have high hopes for a great results for our activities and school organizations to be Wildcat Strong to start the fall!

Lady Wildcat Softball Team won the Class 2 State Championship!

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Congratulations to our Wildcat Baseball Team who finished as the Runner-up in Class 3 District 11!

Congratulations to DHS Track Athletes Chase Housh, Jernie DeWitt, and Zack Roughton who qualified for and competed at the MSHSAA State Track Meet on May 23rd!

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 (new provision for 20 hours with a DESE approved course and sub certificate) 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.