Mershon named MIPA Administrator of the Year 2017

The Missouri Interscholastic Press Association is excited to recognize Staley High School Principal Clark Mershon, Kansas City, as the 2017 Administrator of the Year.

MIPA strives to honor administrators who support journalism in our state’s schools.

In his decision, the judge wrote: “Clark Mershon has illustrated the many ways in which a principal can both protect and encourage his student journalists and their teachers. The nomination letter makes clear that he believes in First Amendment rights as well as providing the best facilities. This dedication has continued over several years. The admiration and appreciation of the teachers nominating him is persuasive.  He ‘has their back.’”

In their nomination, journalism teachers Cherié Burgett and Jan Sobbe said, “We would like to recognize an administrator who has put Staley High School’s journalism program as a top priority since the day our school opened its doors in 2008.

“Every step along the way, Mr. Mershon has remained fully committed to the students making decisions about their publications. He has financially supported the programs each time they needed new equipment or help paying printing bills due to lack of advertising sales. He had our school built with journalism in mind, creating a journalism suite which rivals those of nearby universities. He always makes journalism a priority.

“Our school district allows Mr. Mershon the right of prior review, yet in the entire time the school has been opened, he has not once asked for or practiced prior review. He puts his full trust in the advisers and the student editors to make good decisions on content. He has also never come after publication to criticize coverage. He does, however, make sure to come to the journalism room to praise the students who have specifically created the content for the magazine, the yearbook, the news broadcast or online. He pulls them into the hallway or in front of the class and gives them specific positive feedback.”

Clark Mershon has been Staley High School’s principal since the school’s 2008 opening and has also earned several awards for outstanding service to education, including 2016 Missouri Journalism Education Association Administrator of the year, the 2016 Greater Kansas City School Counselor Association Administrator of the Year Award, the 2016 Missouri School Counselor Association Missouri Administration of the Year Award, Missouri Middle School Principal of the Year by the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals, Southwest Missouri Principal of the Year and two Greater Kansas City Principal of the Year awards. Mershon was a columnist for his high-school newspaper and has supported and promoted scholastic journalism throughout his career. Even as a middle-school principal, he launched a daily student-produced broadcast and a student-produced hardback yearbook. Journalism is a clear priority to Mershon.

He will be recognized as the Missouri Administrator of the Year during the annual Journalism Day on Wednesday, March 29, at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Other 2017 AOY nominees include:

  • Brian Noller, director of the Northland Career Center/Platte County High School, Platte County, Mo.

For more information on the award, please read: