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Missouri Association of Rural Education



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Rural District Administrator


Mr. Kenneth Cook is currently the District Superintendent of the Malden R-I School District. There is a common expression, “High expectations yield high results.”  This expression exemplifies the commitment that Mr. Cook has made to the Malden School District for the past twelve years.  His philosophy has always been that you always do what is best for students. Mr. Cook has a hands-on approach to guiding and improving the district; no task is too small or too large to tackle.

In 2004 the Malden School was facing the possibility of becoming an unaccredited school due to test scores.  Mr. Cook, in his usual manner, attacked the problem head on by addressing curriculum problems, implementing more and effective professional development, and addressing student attendance.  Immediately Mr. Cook began rallying the teachers and building morale by showing them he was a committed superintendent here to help them achieve their goals in the classrooms.  Teachers soon learned that he was open to their ideas and would support them 100% even when the ideas seemed “out of the box” or unorthodox.  With each year, scores increased and within 5 years Malden School was not only accredited; but accredited with distinction in the area of student achievement.

Mr. Cook also has numerous experiences of managing building projects.  Since he arrived at Malden, he has overseen four major construction projects and a major renovation project which has enabled the school to become the pride of the town.  Through his leadership, playgrounds were improved, funding to build a baseball/softball complex, a FEMA building, a new elementary gym, and improvements made to district buildings are creating an exciting, safe, and encouraging place for the students of Malden.

Most recently, Mr. Cook’s vision guided the Malden R-I School District into becoming a leader in technology implementation in Southeast Missouri.  All of the Districts classrooms in grades 2-12 have laptops for every student.  This year the District created a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) lab.  This lab is equipped with 3D printers and virtual reality equipment.

Accepting the role of doing whatever it takes for his students and teachers to be successful in the endeavor of learning and teaching, makes Mr. Kenneth Cook,  deserving of recognition as Missouri’s Outstanding Rural District Administrator for the 2015-2016 school year.