Dr. Jayson Strickland
Superintendent, Hogan Preparatory Academy
Dr. Strickland has served young people for more than three decades in a number of instrumental roles and capacities. He began his career working in his family’s preschool business. This valuable experience instilled a love for education while cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit. He has described himself as an “edu-preneurial”, a passionate educational leader with an entrepreneurial mode of operation. In addition to starting his career in preschool he has worked as an elementary teacher, building principal, and district office administrator.
Dr. Strickland’s formal education started at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. He received his bachelor’s degree then went on to get a master’s and specialist education degree in educational leadership from UMKC. His doctoral program was completed at UMKC and it focused on leadership, emotional intelligence, and team effectiveness.
After working for more than 25 years in a traditional public school district and increasing student success for students in the Kansas City area, Dr. Strickland was recruited by School Smart KC to support the redesign of Hogan Preparatory Academy to focus on improving student achievement and preparing young people for college and careers. On July 1, 2019, he transitioned to be the Superintendent of Hogan Preparatory Academy to lead the implementation of the Hogan revitalization and redesign efforts. During his time as Superintendent Hogan Prep Academy has achieved some significant accomplishments. Hogan was renewed by their sponsor and the State Board of Education. And the recently broke ground on the construction of a new high school.
Dr. Strickland is committed to the success of young people. It is his mission to continue to support student achievement by leading work that collaboratively engages all stakeholders to create the best educational environment for students and staff. He is honored to be able to do this work at Hogan Prep Academy.
What is it like to be leading a historic school like Hogan Prep? How are you balancing the legacy of Hogan Prep in KC with the future for it’s students?
It is an honor- Hogan has a renowned name that is known throughout the city. It is an honor to be a part of the Hogan family and tradition. Balancing the legacy with the future is a fun task – unique and fun. What we are trying to do is build off the rich tradition of Hogan’s past, but also explore, innovate, and implement creative new ideas and new creative programs that increase success for young people. We have the advantage of building off all the rich tradition that’s there but using creative thinking to develop further success for students in the future.
How does the opportunity to implement Real World Learning at Hogan challenge the concept of education as we know it and how will this benefit our youth?
What is does is break an old mold of education. Sadly, education has been one of the slower institutions or sectors to evolve or change. Real world learning is a means to break that old mold of education: it connects students more directly to learning and skills that prepare them for life – not just prepare them for a test; it prepares them will skills they can transfer and that relate to life outside of school. That’s what’s exciting about RWL – it translates to what families need, and ultimately what communities need. It creates an employment pipeline for our community, it brings revenue to our community, and security to our families – if we can create young people that have life skills that employers are looking for, we will attract business to our community.
This type of learning is engaging for young people – it connects young people to their passions, and to what inspires and motives them to be successful. It is the type of learning that our young people want, and frankly what we need to connect young people with the skills and pathways they need to be successful.
Real world learning has the potential and can help students be successful both in college AND those that want to jump sooner into their careers. Real world learning allows knowledge to solidify better with students – for example: if I learn WHY the quadratic equation is important and how I can apply it to real situations, I can take that either to a college pathway or into a career. It helps them be successful with whatever direction they would like to go in their life.
What has been the biggest lesson you have learned since you took over as superintendent of Hogan Prep?
Wow! I think it is not so much a lesson, so much as something that’s been affirmed: that leadership is a necessity for an organization to be successful. And that is all types of leadership. We have a saying here at Hogan: “we have a leader in every seat.” By that we mean we have leaders from the students to the principal to the board chair. We expect our entire Ram Fam to operate as leaders. The biggest affirmation for me has been that leadership is key from all parts of the organization.
The pandemic caused a huge impact in the education sector – what made you the most proud of how your team and students overcame potential obstacles?
The thing that has made me the proudest is that the pandemic gave our Ram Fam the opportunity to step up as leaders. What that translated into was that when a problem arose people stepped up to solve it – even though we could not predict what those problems would be. What made me proud was how the team stepped up and rose to the occasion – I was incredibly proud and humbled to see how our entire organization stepped up. We got laptops to our kids, we innovated and figured out new methods for instruction, we got creative with connecting with our families – from visiting in the home, to operating out of hours to accommodate all our families’ needs. The resilience, leadership, and innovation of the Hogan family is something we are all proud of!
You just renewed your charter, what’s next for Hogan Prep, your students, and education in Kansas City?
We are excited about the opportunity to give students a quality education experience, we are excited about breaking the mold of traditional education, doing something that is exciting and innovative for young people in Kansas city. The Hogan charter was renewed on the promise that we will help every child reach their greatest potential and give every student their distinct competitive advantage through a personalized learning experience that’s rooted in real world learning activities, and we are excited and motivated to keep that promise.
A huge part of this commitment is giving these students improved facilities that will supplement this learning experience, which will start with upgrading their facilities with the new high school projected for completed in time for the 2022/23 school year. We are excited to see this new building take shape, and share it with our students and their families.