Alan Cunningham began his teaching career in Dodge City in 1974 and dedicated 43 years of service to the students and staff of Dodge City Public Schools. Cunningham retired in July and passed away in August. He is being inducted posthumously into the Kansas Teachers’ Hall of Fame June 2.
"He was an extraordinary educational leader, successful in a broad range of educational and administrative endeavors," Judy Beedles-MILLER, former Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education, said. "His talents made a difference for students, staff, and the community every day."
Cunningham became principal at Northwest Elementary School in 1981 and served as the principal at Wilroads Gardens from 1990 through 1992.
In 1992, he became the district’s first Technology Director and served in that position until being selected as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction in 1999. He became Superintendent of Schools in 2006.
"As a colleague and a friend, Alan impacted me like no other mentor has or ever will," Dodge City High School Principal Jacque Feist said. "He was my boss but we never had a conversation in that manner. He knew the best way for me to learn was to empower me with the information needed to make appropriate decisions and guide me along the way as I requested it.
"He was and will always be a significant educator/leader in the history of Kansas’ public education system."
Cunningham earned his Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Okla. He then went on to earn a Master of Science in Education from Kansas State University, before receiving both his Building Administrator License and Superintendent License from Fort Hays State University.
"Alan exemplified the true definition of an educator; an expert in the theories or administration of education," Betsy Morin said. "He never wavered in his belief that all students could succeed.
"He challenged each of us in the district, whether in the classroom, the lunchroom, or the board room, to stand firm in the ‘faith’ that all children were important and worthy of our time and effort."
Cunningham’s dedication and contributions to both his profession and the community of Dodge City were numerous. He also served on the Southwest Plains Regional Service Center Superintendent’s Council, Kansas/Missouri Superintendent’s Council, the United School Administrators of Kansas, Kansas School Superintendents Association, and was a founding member of the Therapeutic Education Center of Dodge City.
"Alan was dedicated to the students of Kansas and specifically Dodge City," Deputy Commissioner of Education Dale Dennis said. "He was passionate about serving minority students and ensuring they received a quality education. I sincerely miss Alan and being able to seek out his advice and counsel. He was a loyal and dedicated educator."
Cunningham served on the Kansas Teachers’ Hall of Fame board and dedicated many hours of service to the organization. That service is being honored June 2 as he joins the ranks of those inducted into the Hall of Fame.