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Ritenour Superintendent Honored by School Administrators Association

The Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA) has selected Dr. Chris Kilbride, Superintendent of the Ritenour School District, as the recipient of the annual Robert L. Pearce Award for 2024.  A committee of his peers selected Dr. Kilbride.  Each of the eight MASA regions nominated a superintendent for the award.

Dr. Kilbride Pearce Award

Dr. Kilbride received his undergraduate degree from Eureka College, his master’s degree from Saint Louis University, and in 2006 he earned his Ed.D. from Saint Louis University.

Dr. Kilbride’s entire educational leadership career has taken place in the Ritenour School District, starting as the director of professional development, then as an assistant principal at Kratz Elementary School, and later as the principal of Buder Elementary School. Dr. Kilbride has served as the superintendent for Ritenour since 2012.

In his application, Dr. Kilbride shared his focus is based on “Every Student, Every Day” with the idea of setting a vision that he and his staff would confront and eliminate any obstacles to high level learning that existed. As part of this focus, the district has worked to develop free programs and support services so students would have access to early childhood programs, and dental, medical and mental health care services, and be free from the stresses of food insecurity. He also has been a strong advocate for the district’s fastest-growing population from Central and South America by starting the International Welcome Center, which provides intensive English language and social-emotional supports for students new to the U.S. 

When asked about the greatest challenges his district has faced in recent years, Dr. Kilbride noted that no obstacle has been greater than the disruption caused by the pandemic. As a district that quickly moved to being fully virtual in 2020-2021, and limited in-person classes in 2021-2022, so much ground was lost not only in academics, but also from a socio-emotional standpoint. Under Dr. Kilbride’s leadership, the district took an “all-in” strategy to address the negative impact of the pandemic by developing proficiency scales for all core areas and grade levels across the district.

When addressing the issues of communication, collaboration, and building internal and external support for the schools, Dr. Kilbride discussed several programs his district has employed, including hosting community and staff strategic planning and data meetings, targeting communication strategies to bridge language barriers and engaging non-English speaking families, and developing means to leverage multiple communication channels to best reach families and students.

Dr. Kilbride is a past president for the MASA Greater St. Louis Region; he has served as the chair for the Education Plus Board of Directors; and he is a member of the Aim High St. Louis Board of Directors. Dr. Kilbride is involved with the Ritenour Co-Care Food Pantry the Mathnasium Satellite Campus at Husky Support Center, and he helped to establish Ritenour student leader representatives on the municipal councils within the district.  He has also worked closely with local elected officials to better connect the nine municipalities in the Ritenour School District. 

The Pearce Award, which is one of MASA’s two most prestigious honors, (the other being the Superintendent of the Year which is given in the fall), includes a monetary award to the recipient and a scholarship for a student in the district of the award winner.

Dr. Kilbride is the 38th recipient of the prestigious Robert L. Pearce Award.