Incoming superintendent wins Superintendent of the Year


Courtesy of Mary LaPak

Incoming Superintendent Curtis Cain answers questions at a student press conference on Feb. 10 at the Annex. Cain was awarded 2022 Missouri Superintendent of the Year in November of 2021 and later awarded National Superintendent of the Year.

Vijay Viswanathan

“To be frank with you, every time I see my face on the TV screens, I still kind of shake my head. I knew it was a big deal, but it’s a really, really big deal,” incoming Rockwood School District (RSD) and current Wentzville School District (WSD) Superintendent Curtis Cain said.

On Feb. 17, Cain was named the National Superintendent of the Year by the School Superintendents Association (AASA). Cain mentioned that winning the award still surprises him.

“I don’t think it’s fully [hit me], I think it’s going to hit me at some unanticipated point in time, to come to terms with the gravity of winning recognition like this,” Cain said.

One of the reasons why Cain won the award was because of his work toward the mental health of students and parents in the WSD.

“This pandemic has highlighted what we’ve always known in terms of the importance of mental health. I know for a fact that there are resources [for mental health] within the Rockwood School District. It’s not what we know, it’s anticipating the unknown which is around the corner. I think what’s the key is that we’re able to mobilize resources and then clearly and effectively communicate the different resources we have available. [It’s] not only for students, but for families as well,” Cain said.

During Cain’s tenure as Wentzville’s superintendent, the Wentzville Board of Education voted to remove Toni Morrison’s book, The Bluest Eye, from libraries, which was later overturned and they also voted down a mask recommendation made by Cain during the COVID-19 surge in January of 2022. He also mentioned that he is aiming to better the relationship between Rockwood, the Board of Education (BOE) and the public.

“You will find in relationships that it’s not always going to be a series of continuous sunny days. That’s just not how it works. There are going to be times when you disagree with a perspective or opinion, but it doesn’t mean you have to revert to being disagreeable. We, as adults, have to continue to demonstrate an ability [to be agreeable],” Cain said.

Cain also said that he plans to work closely with the BOE in the best interest of students across the district. He also mentioned that one reason he was drawn to Rockwood was his admiration for the district.

“But I can tell you from the outside, it’s [RSD] a district that I have admired. For years, I’ve known leaders and educators in the Rockwood School District. There’s always been an infinity and respect for what’s happening in Rockwood. It’s very evident how proud citizens, parents, stakeholders and patrons are proud of what happens in Rockwood and I’m very excited to be a part [of it],” Cain said.

He also said that his winning the award will help him during his first year as superintendent of RSD.

“There’s going to be an association of my name [with the award]. I’m excited about the energy and the momentum that’s going to build as a result of that. But what I’m most excited about is the fact that I’m going to be able to talk about all the good things we’re going to be doing as a district and how we’re going to keep the focus on what’s happening for the students within the district. I think it’s a unique opportunity to be on a platform to really talk about the great things that happen in public schools and I’m very excited about that,” Cain said.