by Ivan Foley
Mike Reik says when things happen in his life, they tend to happen in bunches.
That trend is being followed right now. On Wednesday evening he became a father, and on Thursday evening he was announced as the man who will be the new superintendent for Platte County R-3 when Dr. Mark Harpst retires on July 1.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’ve had a successful career for the last seven and a half years and I’m looking forward to leading our district and continuing the good work of Dr. Harpst,” he said.
On Friday while tending to family needs with his wife--the former Ashley Jenks of Platte City-- and new son Sayer Michael, still in the hospital, Dr. Reik spoke with The Landmark via cell phone. It was the second time the newspaper has interviewed him in the past two weeks as it became clear the search for Harpst’s replacement was targeted at Reik.
The Landmark more than a year ago reported Reik would be the next superintendent, according to sources in the field of education. The Landmark was present outside a recent executive session meeting where Reik was called into the room for what he said was his second interview with the board of education.
“I have found a home at Platte County and am glad to be at the leadership position,” said Reik, age 36.
Reik was one of 18 applicants for the job. Tina Zubeck, school board secretary, recently told The Landmark that five of the applicants were called in for an interview.
“I feel lucky to work in Platte County. I chose it as my home. I look forward to being a part of the community, not only the job but as a role in the community. I’m not just a figurehead who comes into punch the clock every day. This is my home and it just happens to be my job as well,” said Reik, who resides just outside the city limits of Platte City.
Reik has worked in the R-3 district for eight years. He has been an assistant superintendent the past three years and is in charge of support services. His duties cover the areas of employee benefits, technology, transportation, school safety, buildings and grounds, purchasing, ADA coordination, food service, facilities planning, building projects and construction and day to day operations.
When he first arrived in the R-3 district in 2001, he served as an assistant principal for Ray Mahowski at Barry School and also for Terry Hart at Platte City Middle School. He split time at those two schools for three years before moving to the central office, where he replaced Ron Harmon in curriculum instruction for one year. He has been in his current spot in charge of support services for two years.
Prior to coming to R-3, was a first grade teacher at Liberty. Before that, he taught in the Peoria, Ill. public school system, teaching art, music and third grade, all in one year’s time there.
His job duties, quite obviously, will be much different than that in July.
“I will be painting with much broader strokes than I have with the two positions prior. The superintendent handles the bigger picture, dealing with things on a more grand scale. The superintendent is in charge of keeping our eye on the prize, so to speak.”
Reik says the fact he has experience in both of the assistant superintendent positions and has dealt with areas covered by both of those slots will be a major advantage for him as he takes the top job.
“I hope to draw on my experience in both positions to help me be an effective superintendent,” he said. “I appreciate the trust (school board members) are placing in me in leading the district.”
“This is a people business. Certainly the kids are the focus, and I have had the luxury of working with the finest of educators in our district,” he continued. “I’m looking forward to continuing to interact and dialogue with and work with our fine educators in determining what’s best for our kids.”
Most immediately, Reik and wife Ashley will be working with Sayer Michael, who checked in at 8 pounds and was 21.5 inches long when delivered via C-section.
“He was a big baby for a small mommy. Hopefully he’ll get his mommy’s good looks,” Reik said.
As for his hectic life this past week, he added:
“I’m kinda ready for it to settle down and then get on with the work of the district and with being a dad.”