McGehee has provided leadership for a number of ed-tech initiatives, including the district’s exemplary use of SMART Boards, handheld student response systems, computer software intervention programs such as Fast ForWord, and a new audio enhancement program for kindergarten classrooms.
This year, McGehee spearheaded efforts to move to electronic “walkthroughs” using McREL software and BlackBerry devices as part of R-7 Professional Learning Communities. In addition, he supports an ongoing focus on comprehensive training for employees, ensuring that staff development is included in any new technology initiative. With funding from a district-wide technology budget, enhanced by voter-approved bonds, technology is equitably distributed throughout the district, thanks to consistent district technology standards.
With the nation in fiscal turmoil, school districts across the country have felt the sting of shrinking budgets, which has led to uncertainty and fear. To help alleviate this anxiety, McGehee recently initiated video podcasts to help communicate with staff members and is planning to expand this effort to the community at large. In addition, Lee’s Summit offers stakeholders weekly eNewletters, as well as Facebook and Twitter links, that provide up-to-the-minute news regarding district-level activities and initiatives.
McGehee is also a tireless proponent of preparing students for postsecondary programs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and subsequent careers in these fields. All of the district’s middle and high schools house Project Lead The Way (PLTW) courses that use technology on a daily basis, such as Inventor, a desktop 3D computer-aided design program. Lee’s Summit also boasts one of the region’s premier STEM programs at Summit Technology Academy. Other local districts that have implemented PLTW courses have visited Lee’s Summit to see its model for STEM preparation in action.
McGehee initiated the use of BlackBerry devices among administrators and helped the district launch BoardDocs, providing paperless board meetings that can be easily accessed online. He also promotes paperless meetings and study groups among staff through the use of the Blackboard learning management system.