John Mulford

The man who will be at the helm of the Meramec Valley R-III School District next year said he’s anxious to get to know the community because the community defines the school district.

“I believe the school district should reflect the community,” said Dr. Jonathan Mulford Sr., who was named superintendent during a special meeting Oct. 26.

Mulford will officially take over in July 2018 to begin the 2018-19 school year.

“My first goal is to learn what the community desires for the schools in the district,” he said. “We will take that and make that the vision of the district.” Mulford comes to the district with 20 years of teaching and leadership experience. He has served as superintendent of the West Plains R-VII School District for the past five years.

At West Plains, he oversaw programs that embellished the accomplishment of the district’s brightest students and inspired at-risk students to achievements beyond all expectations.

“With the right person heading the special programs students excel,” Mulford said.

The new superintendent began his education administration at Heritage Christian School where he was principal and the upper-level math and science teacher for four years.

For the past 16 years, he served in the West Plains R-VII School District, including working four years as a teacher of mathematics at both the middle and high school level, while also serving as an assistant coach for football, baseball and track; middle school assistant principal; high school principal; and assistant superintendent. He was named superintendent of schools in 2013.

Mulford will replace Dr. Ed Hillhouse as superintendent of schools for an initial three-year term.

Hillhouse returned to Meramec Valley in July 2015, under a two-year contract, after the sudden passing of then superintendent Randy George.

“Ed (Hillhouse) was a godsend for the district,” said Tim Richardson, school board president. “He made his mission to continue the goals that Randy (George) had started. Thanks to his help everything that we were working on kept going.”

“My mission over the next several months will be to help Dr. Mulford with a smooth transition, allowing Meramec Valley to continue to grow and achieve the goals of the district,” Hillhouse said.

Mulford and his wife Heather will begin their efforts to get to know the community this week. They will be in Pacific to attend a school board meeting, the booster club dinner auction and to hunt for a house.

“We’re excited to move to Pacific,” Mulford said. “Our son, John David, a freshman at Missouri State, and daughter, Morgan, now a junior in high school, are part of the move. We’re all coming.”