Jessica Bassett will become the principal at LHS starting July 1st. Photo courtesy of USD497.

Jessica Bassett

Jessica Bassett will become the principal at LHS starting July 1st. Photo courtesy of USD497.

By Nadia Sanburn and Tony Racy

Jessica Bassett will replace interim principal Cynthia Johnson as principal of Lawrence High school starting July 1.

The announcement of Bassett’s position came Monday and was approved by the school board last night. Superintendent Anthony Lewis said Bassett was the right leader for LHS. 

“Jessica has a proven track record of leading change and supporting school communities in improving academics, attendance, culture and climate, and graduation rates,” he said in a district press release. “Her experiences and passion for coaching and mentoring teachers to accelerate student learning will help us further our goal to increase student achievement and success at LHS.” 

Bassett will arrive at LHS after Johnson served two years in the interim role amid the challenges of a massive construction overhaul of the building as well as COVID-19 interruptions. Before Johnson, Matt Brungardt served 10 years as principal of Lawrence High.

According to the district press release, Bassett has worked in Kansas City, Mo., schools as a principal for 11 years, and as a music and reading teacher for 10. 

The district included committees made up of students, teachers and staff to help in the search for a new principal. These committees conducted interviews and researched the backgrounds of the candidates. Junior Andrew Zimney was one of the students included on the student committee.

“She was very prepared, outlining things that we could do in order to make sure that everyone’s voices are heard,” Zimney said. “Overall, even in the limited time I’ve known her, I can confidently say that she is an excellent educator and administrator who will no doubt make LHS a better place”

Other students on the committee, like senior Trinity Shorter, were just as impressed.

“She’s phenomenal, really charismatic and just great,” Shorter said. “I hope she brings positivity and helps to make LHS a place everyone, staff and students, feel comfortable.”

Bassett said she is excited to work with everyone at LHS.

“Lawrence High is primed to move not only from good to great but from good to exceptional,” Basset said in the press release. “I am thrilled to work with the students, staff, and parents as we move to the next level.”