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Pattonville Superintendent Mike Fulton, one of the St. Louis region's longest-serving superintendents, was hired Monday night to lead the Shawnee Mission School District in Kansas.

Tim Pecoraro, Pattonville's current assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, will succeed Fulton once Fulton becomes Shawnee Mission's top leader on July 1. The Pattonville School Board voted on Feb. 5 to name Pecoraro as Fulton's successor after it learned that Fulton would not seek an extension to his contract.

“Pattonville is fortunate to have exceptional internal talent, which is why we decided to select our next leader from within the Pattonville school family,” said Pattonville School Board President Jeanne Schottmueller in a statement. “Dr. Pecoraro brings with him a strong dedication to ensuring all children learn. He has a wealth of experience in leading innovative change that makes a difference for children, and we believe he will carry forward the tradition of excellence and innovation that makes Pattonville the extraordinary school district it is.”

Pecoraro, a 1989 Pattonville graduate, joined the district as a principal in 2001. Before that, he was an assistant principal and teacher at John Weldon Elementary in the Francis Howell School District. He has a bachelor's degree in special education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, a master's in education administration from Lindenwood University and a doctorate from St. Louis University.

Fulton started working in Pattonville in 1995 as the director, then assistant superintendent for planning, assessment and research. He also served as the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. At a tenure of 11 years, Fulton is one of the longest-serving superintendents in the St. Louis region.

“You just kind of know as a leader when the right time to transition is,” Fulton, 57, said in an interview. “Pattonville is just in great shape. We have fantastic staff and wonderful leadership internally and I felt like we were at a point where, if there was ever a transition, now would be a great time.”

Fulton and Pecoraro together have helped pioneer work both in Pattonville and statewide to make testing and education accountability more equitable for schools, including the now-forming Missouri Assessment Partnership to reform state testing and the planned remake of Missouri's school grading system.

Last year, Pattonville reached a milestone of earning a perfect annual performance report score, which is what Missouri uses to grade public schools.

Fulton said he wants to work for Shawnee Mission because it is becoming more socioeconomically and racially diverse, similar to how Pattonville has evolved in the past several years.

The details of Pecoraro's contract, including his salary, will be determined at a future board meeting.