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Olathe South High School Principal Dr. Sean DeMaree Named 2024 Administrator of the Year

Dr. Sean DeMaree, Olathe South High School principal, has been named KSPA’s 2024 Administrator of the Year, an award which recognizes secondary school administrators who have stood up for the First Amendment and advocated for journalism students.

KSPA congratulates Dr. DeMaree on this award and thanks him for his continued efforts to support the work of his  students and the First Amendment.

Words of nomination: 

Heather Springer, Olathe South High School journalism adviser has had many positive interactions with Dr. DeMaree regarding her journalism students. She shared her reflections in nomination for the award, writing: 

Dr. Sean DeMaree embodies what it is to be considered for administrator of the year. DeMaree set out to make Olathe South “the best high school in Kansas” and with that, he has encouraged and supported me, my students, and our publications to pursue that same level of excellence.

Springer also reflected on Dr. Holder’s commitment to upholding the Kansas Student Publications Act:

DeMaree has never attempted to silence an article. Furthermore, he’s been the top choice for interviews throughout the year, and though he may need to reschedule, he has never turned down a student journalist. DeMaree also never asks for a copy of questions ahead of time or requests email interviews. He has answered a wide range of questions that other administrators may have balked at or simply deemed too controversial to comment on. There is no subject too difficult or controversial for him to speak about with student journalists.

Springer concludes her nomination by writing, “While leading South to become the best high school in the state,’ Dr. DeMaree is also quietly becoming one of the best administrators in the state.

Katie Hooker and Adalyn Sparks, Olathe South High School photojournalism students shared how Dr. DeMaree has supported them while creating their student-run photojournalism business in nomination for the award:

He encourages us to do better even when we are already doing great. He still pushes to make us the best journalism program. He puts his own personal time into us continuously

To go back into depth about him supporting our student run business he’s paying for the first year expenses so we can get on our feet and get running. Our photo budget was $300 and as we brought that up to him he has offered to expand that out so we can actually do things with that money

As someone who is 17 and about to be 18 years of age, DeMaree understands that we need to start being treated like adults, and not children who have no idea what they’re doing. I feel heard and seen, and I see our Olathe South family growing in a positive direction because of him. While most of us here at Olathe South have been sitting in the dark waiting for a chance to be seen, DeMaree has been the one to shine the light on us and show us that there is more out there for us

From the Olathe South High School Student News Publication: 

eyrieonline.org reported on Dr. DeMaree winning the award:

DeMaree is a principal who is supportive of students and makes it a priority that the work the journalism groups do is supported.

“I will be there to support you through the tough times where you write an article that doesn’t go over well, and I’ll be here to celebrate with you when you write something that’s welcomed and loved by everybody,” DeMaree said.

From the judge: 

Below are the comments from our judges in the contest.

DeMaree is known for making himself available for student interviews — without asking for the questions in advance — and answers questions that made his predecessors uncomfortable. He helped students with their fund-raising ideas and promotions. Applications to publications classes are up in part because he helped the publications teacher recruit from middle schools. He features the work of photojournalism students in weekly external and internal newsletters. 

On behalf of our members, our board and our staff, KSPA congratulates Dr. DeMaree from Olathe South High School for her continued efforts to support student journalism. 

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