Heath Oates

Heath Oates, who is slated to be El Dorado Springs R-II’s new superintendent, poses for a photo outside the school on Monday, Feb. 3.

A new face at the El Dorado Springs R-II school district will bring almost 20 years of educational experience and leadership to the district. 

Heath Oates, who is slated to take over R-II superintendent Mark Koca’s role, met with the district’s faculty and staff on Monday, Feb. 3, for a reception to welcome him in for the new position. 

The change of hands came after Koca announced plans to retire at the end of the 2019-20 school year from his current position as superintendent during executive session of the R-II school board meeting Thursday, Oct. 10.

Speaking with the Republican, Oates said he’s excited to become R-II’s superintendent because the district has a great reputation.

On his resume, he’s spent the last three years as Rich Hill’s superintendent in Bates County; before that, he served as Butler’s assistant superintendent for four years in Bates County.

“Of course, I’m still in the honeymoon phase here,” Oates said, laughing, speaking on his first impressions of R-II. “But I think Mark’s done a great job with the facilities. The place looks fantastic. It’s in great shape. Academics are solid, and I’m just super excited to come here and work.”

Oates is originally from Adrian. His educational career started in the fall of 2001 when he began teaching. His first administrative job began in the fall of 2008, he said. 

Because teaching is his calling, academics will be one of his primary focuses as R-II’s superintendent, he said. 

“I’m just very focused on student achievement and getting them ready for college and careers and student success,” he said. 

His first goal for the job is to get to know everyone in the district, he said. 

“I just really look forward to becoming a member of the community and working with everyone that lives here and works here,” Oates said. 

Oates also noted he’s a sports fan. 

“I coached football during probably 15 of my 20 years of education,” he said. “I like baseball, those activities. I like quiz bowl. It’s one of my favorite things to do.”

But since his priorities will be focused on getting the superintendent job done, he said he’s happy to “be a fan and support the kids.”

Looking forward, Oates said he hopes to end his educational career by eventually retiring at R-II. 

Oates will assume his new position effective July 1, 2020.

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