Derek Holmes chosen for Distinguished Administrator Award

  Tuesday, December 11, 2018 11:00 AM
  Academics, Alumni, People and Society, News

Pittsburg, KS

COE Award Derek Holmes


Pittsburg State University’s College of Education has chosen Derek Holmes, principal at Concordia Elementary School in Concordia, Kansas, for the Distinguished Service Administrator award.  

He received her award during the College of Education’s Recognition Ceremony on Monday.  

Holmes, a native of Chanute, Kansas, earned his master’s degree in Education Leadership from PSU in 1999 while he was teaching and coaching at Altoona-Midway — he took courses online, carpooled to night classes, and attended during the summers. 

"I always liked leadership roles, and I knew I wanted to become an administrator," he said. “I knew Pitt State had a great program, and it made sense to enroll here.” 

It was a positive experience, he said, and a good choice. 

“It helped prepare me to foster some of the leadership qualities I needed to be successful,” he said. 

In 2001, he was hired as assistant principal and athletic director at Iola High School, where he also was the head boys’ basketball coach. He was assistant principal and athletic director in Beloit, Kansas, before joining the Concordia School District 11 years ago. 

“I’ve had a variety of roles here, and I enjoy the relationships you can build in a small district,” he said. “You get to know the staff, the kids, and the parents.” 

He oversees 90 staff and a building of 560 students pre-K through fourth grade. He enjoys seeing them progress academically and socially from grade to grade. 

We as educators – you have such a big impact in their lives. That happens at all ages, but especially at the elementary school when you see them when they’re very young, starting out, and experiencing such change over just a few years,” he said. “It’s a very rewarding profession when you can touch children’s lives in a very impactful way.” 

Holmes takes pride in maintaining a positive school climate and giving students a positive, safe, and enjoyable learning environment. 

"I’m humbled and honored," Holmes said of being chosen for the award. "There are a lot of people out there who deserve it. I couldn’t do what I do without my family and our USD 333 staff." 

His real reward has been his career, he said, and he encourages others considering a career in education to pursue one. It’s a message he’ll drive home to university students at the award ceremony Monday. 

My message is, if people say not to get into this profession, block that out. We have to focus on the positives. Our story is the lives we touch, the impact we have on students. That’s the story that needs to be told,” he said. 

“We need great educators. It’s critical we get people who will be role models for students.”