The Mexico School District has two new leaders this year.

Dr. Zachary Templeton is the new superintendent, and Dr. Larry Nelson is the new assistant superintendent.

Templeton may be taking over the reins as superintendent but he is not new to the district. For the past five years he has served in the capacity of assistant superintendent. When the former superintendent, Kevin Freeman, retired from the district and took a job with the Department of Early and Secondary Education, Templeton was hired by the Mexico Board of Education as the superintendent and began his duties July 1.

Nelson was hired in March by the school board as assistant superintendent. At the time he was the principal of Elkhorn Elementary in Excelsior Springs. He also began on July 1.

Things have been progressing nicely since the two men have taken over. Templeton said the top priority is to wrap up the fiscal year and to prepare for the upcoming school year.

One of Templeton's goals is for the school district to increase student achievement. "We just don't want to get kids through school but on the path to earning a living," he said.

The Mexico Public School District, city of Mexico and Moberly Area Community College, have been working with area manufacturers to help find ways to produce a more skilled work force. Templeton said there are other ways than a four-year college for students, such as technical schools or even the work force.

As superintendent Templeton has inherited the construction of all schools, budget needs, and reductions in staffing positions.

"We need to assure people the district is financially doing what has to be done," he said.

Templeton said the Mexico School District is having the same problems as most school districts and that is financial problems and how to tackle the problem.

Another goal of Templeton is how to attract educators. "We need to attract quality educators with salary and benefits and to keep the ones we have," he said.

Templeton wants to make the district stronger and be competitive in educating the students.

Before moving to Mexico, Templeton was the superintendent of Maries County R-2 from 2009-2012. He also served as high school principal at Maries County R-2 and Cole County R-1 and was a mathematics teacher at Blair Oaks R-2.

Nelson is entering his 10th years as an administrator in education, but this will be his first year as an assistant superintendent. Previously as a school principal, his leadership was limited to one building. "The role of assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction affords me the opportunity to lead improvement initiatives throughout the entire district," he stated. The position allows for creating a vision for change; building the capacity of others; promoting collaboration; coordinating initiatives; and building and maintaining relationships through the district.

"I am committed toward ensuring all students receive an education that will empower them in becoming proficient in their educational endeavors," Nelson said. His goals are to ensure that student achievement is at the peak of curriculum, assessment and instructional support. "As I strive to build strong relationships, this will take a joint effort by creating a pipeline of support linking the home and school," he stated.

Nelson said it is an honor and privilege to serve Mexico Public Schools in the capacity of assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. "I am looking forward to collaborating with teachers, staff, administrators, and parents while focusing on creating an engaging 21st century learning environments for our students. Together we can ensure that all students have access to high quality curriculum that prepares them for their future."