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Oct. 8, 2015
Northwest Missouri State University will welcome Al H. Tunis, the interim superintendent and chief financial officer for Kansas City Public Schools, for its fall Ploghoft Diversity Lecture at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, in The Station.
The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled in conjunction with Northwest’s Education Expo from 1 to 3 p.m. on the same day in Bearcat Arena. Northwest education majors will hear about Tunis’ experiences working in an urban school district with diverse populations and have the opportunity to learn about career opportunities available in the KCMO public schools.
The visit will be Tunis’ second to the Northwest campus this fall. In September, Tunis met with members of the Northwest Leadership Team to discuss partnership opportunities involving the University and school district. Jennifer Collier, the school district’s director of human resources, also will join him.
“The Ploghoft Committee feel Mr. Tunis’ visit to campus is an example of our efforts to reach out to urban school populations with the intention of building meaningful field experiences for our students and building relationships that benefit both organizations,” said Dr. David Kiene, chair of the Ploghoft Committee and an assistant professor in Northwest’s Department of Education.
Tunis joined Kansas City Public Schools as chief financial officer in November 2011. In June 2015, the KCPS Board of Directors chose Tunis as interim superintendent.
Since 2009, he served as a consultant to the Institution for Workplace Innovation at Metropolitan Community College, where he led the charge to create a self-sustaining new department designed quickly put people back to work during tough economic times. Before that role, Tunis was vice chancellor for administrative services at MCC from 1999 to 2009, acting as the college’s principal non-instructional operations leader.
Tunis is an experienced educator with local roots. From 1978 to 1999, he was employed by the Park Hill, Mo., School District, serving as an elementary school principal for three years before being promoted to assistant superintendent for business services.
Tunis has held a variety of posts related to education and finances, including past appointments to the Kansas City Tax Increment Financing Board, the Kansas City Economic Development Corp., the Platte County, Mo., Board of Equalization, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and the Missouri Community Colleges Budget Committee.
A native of Michigan, Tunis holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wayne State University in elementary education and educational leadership. Tunis also has an educational specialist degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
The Ploghoft Diversity Lecture series features speakers and events that broaden the educational perspectives of Northwest teacher candidates and inform all students about the issues facing the education of students from diverse environments.
The Ploghoft Diversity Lecture series is funded through the generosity of Dr. Milton Ploghoft of Athens, Ohio, and his late wife Zella Ploghoft. Dr. Ploghoft, a 1949 Northwest alumnus, is professor emeritus at Ohio University. Mrs. Ploghoft, who passed away in June 2010, completed her elementary and secondary education at Horace Mann Laboratory School at Northwest. Dr. Ploghoft authored a number of textbooks in the social studies and lived abroad for many years, founding the College of Education in Kano, Nigeria, lecturing at Saigon University and leading the university’s international programs in such disparate places as Chile, Cameroun, Botswana, the Yucatan and Swaziland, in what was then South Vietnam. In 1992, he became the founding editor of the African Education Research Network.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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