Superintendent stands by principal’s appointment

Parents have voiced concern about the Ray Miller Elementary principal after discovering her husband is a registered sex offender in Missouri.

Principal Jennifer Botello is new to the Kirksville R-III school district this year and after learning of her husband’s status, some parents expressed concern for their children’s safety.

Botello’s husband pleaded guilty to a class A misdemeanor of attempting to endanger the welfare of a child during 1994, according to Missouri State Highway Patrol public records. This offense did not require registering until 2006, and Botello’s husband complied with the required registration.

Damon Kizzire, Kirksville R-III Schools superintendent, says when Ray Miller’s principal of 31 years retired, the district needed to hire a new principal who was well-qualified for the job. Kizzire says during the application process, Botello stood out as the best applicant.

“We hired the person that had the degree, that had the knowledge we were looking for … and had the most impressive interview with the desire to teach, learn and grow.”

           – Damon Kizzire, Kirksville R-III Superintendent

Kizzire says he understands some parents are concerned, but the school is focused on education and safety, and he would not recommend anyone who might pose a threat to student safety. To understand the legal aspect of the Sex Offender Registry, Kizzire says he would encourage concerned parents to access the registry, which is available to the public.

Kizzire says he could not answer whether the district was aware of the status of Botello’s husband during the interview process. He says the school has several policies in place to help ensure the safety of all students, which it followed.

To read more on the school’s policies read the rest of the story on Issuu.