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The Pillars of Southeast High School

Southeast High School Alumni Association, Inc. in Kansas City, Missouri, takes pride in remembering the people who have an impact on Southeast High School. Featured on this page are the principals who have been at the helm, dating back to our beginnings in 1938. We are pleased to share a piece of our history with you!

1938 - 1940 – Joseph G. Bryan

Mr. Bryan was the first principal of Southeast High School. Mr. Bryan came into the Kansas City schools from Teachers’ College in Warrensburg in 1921. After 4 years on the faculty of Westport Junior High School, he was appointed Vice Principal of Southwest High School, a position he held from 1926-1936.

Following that, Mr. Bryan was Vice Principal of East High School for two years. During the 1938-1939 school year, when Southeast opened, Mr. Bryan was the only school principal in Kansas City who did not have a vice principal.

The Board of Education did not expect such a large enrollment during the first year of the school’s existence. The Interscholastic League football field north of the Southeast building is named for Mr. Bryan.

1940 - 1967 – Harry R. McMillan

Mr. McMillan was born in 1900 on his father’s farm, nine miles west of Warrensburg, Missouri. His elementary education was in a one-room rural school, where he was neither absent nor tardy.

For his secondary education, he went to Laboratory High School of Central Missouri State College. He went on to attain a degree of Bachelor of Science in Education from Central Missouri State College with a major in physics and minors in mathematics and biology. Mr. McMillan also studied vocal music at Warrensburg School of Music for four years.

Mr. McMillan received a Master’s Degree in Public School Administration from the University of Missouri with advanced studies in public school administration at the University of Colorado. Mr. McMillan was also trained under the Student Army Training Corps at Central Missouri State College.

Mr. McMillan served as Principal of Pleasant Hill High School for one year, Superintendent of Schools in Peculiar for four years and Superintendent of Schools in Lee’s Summit for eleven and one half years. Mr. McMillan was also Principal E.C. of Meservey Elementary School for one and one half years and Vice Principal of East High School for two years.  It was after his time at East that Mr. McMillan became principal at Southeast High School.

Mr. McMillan was principal of Southeast for twenty-seven years, longer than any other principal.  He passed away in 1968 following his retirement in 1967.

1967 - 1970 - William D. Evans

Before coming to Southeast in the fall of ’67, Mr. Evans had been a counselor, vice principal and principal at Westport High School.

During World War II, he was a marine sergeant in the military government. He married in 1947 and received his B.S. in education two years later. In 1953 Mr. Evans earned his M.S. degree in secondary school administration from Central Missouri State College in Warrensburg.

Mr. Evans has three children. Beth, a freshman, and Tom, a junior, both attend Blue Springs High School. Stephanie is a sophomore at Missouri Valley College.

1970 - 1989 – William J. Herron

Mr. Herron was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas, the fifth child in a family of 12. During his school years, he attended Dunbar Elementary, Northeast Junior High and Sumner High School. After graduating, he attended Michigan State University, Central Missouri State, and U.M.K.C. He received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, earning 81 hours above on the latter.

During his teaching career, he was employed at 13 elementary schools where he taught physical education. In 1960, he began teaching general science at Manual and was their head football coach. Mr. Herron then came to Southeast High School as an assistant principal in 1967. 

Three years later, a group of students, teachers, and parents led a petition drive throughout the district promoting Mr. Herron as principal. The signed petition consisted of 5000 names. It was sent to the Board of Education, and in 1970 Mr. Herron was appointed the first black principal in the district.

When he entered Southeast High School, his goals were to change and improve the image of the school. Mr. Herron said, “I feel I’ve done the job to the fullest of my ability.” He also said Southeast High School was the best school he had ever been to. He had two daughters graduate from Southeast in 1972 and 1979. When asked if he ever wanted to be principal at another school, Mr. Herron replied, “NO WAY!”

Mr. Herron said that he spent most of his time in the halls learning new peoples’ names because he never wanted the students to fear him, just respect him. His remarks about the class of 1989 were, “They’ve been like a family to me. I’ve known most of them for four years. Most of all, I’m going to miss them.”

After 22 years at Southeast, Mr. Herron will be sadly missed. When asked if he would change his mind about retiring, he replied, “No, when the class of ’89 walks across the stage, I’ll walk, too.”

1989 - 1990 – George Buckner

1990 - 1993 – Dr. Curtis R. Cooper

1993 - 1995 – Manuel L. Isquierdo

Dr. Isquierdo earned a Bachelor of Arts History and English (1974) from Saginaw Valley College, a Masters in Educational Administration (1981) from Michigan State University, and a Doctor of Education in Administration (2004) from National Louis University.

From 1974 to 1985, Dr. Isquierdo taught social studies at Buena Vista High School in Saginaw, Michigan. He moved into administration in 1982 as an assistant principal in Evanston Township High School and then served as principal of Southeast Magnet High School from 1993 until 1995.

Following his time at Southeast, Dr. Isquierdo was principal of two schools in Illinois from 1995 until 2003. From 2003 until 2007, he was area superintendent in Dallas, Texas, and deputy superintendent in Stockton, California.

In 2007, Dr. Isquierdo assumed his current position of superintendent of Sunnyside Unified School District in Tucson, Arizona.

Dr. Isquierdo and his wife Edith, also an educator, have two children, Samantha 15 and Robert 12.

1995 - 1996 – Mary Taylor Lee

1996 - 1999 – Jeffery Stewart

1999 - 2000 – Carl Evans

Carl Evans has been a resident of Kansas City, Missouri, since 1962. He was educated in Kansas City Public Schools and graduated from Lincoln High School. Immediately following high school, Carl was drafted to the United States Army and served his country in the Viet Nam war.

Upon completing his tour of duty, he enrolled at UMKC where he earned a Bachelor's of Arts in History, a Masters in Administration and a Specialist degree in Administration.

After completing his formal education, Carl served the students of the Kansas City Public School System for 30 years before retiring in 2001. Over the years, he served as a teacher, student adjustment center coordinator, as well as a counselor, vice principal, program administrator, and principal.

  • Teacher - Chester Anderson Alternative School
  • Student Adjustment Center Coordinator - Northeast

    High School

  • Teacher - Westport Jr. High School.
  • Counselor - Van Horn High School
  • Vice Principal - Central High School
  • Vice Principal - Paseo High School
  • Administrator for the Law and Public Service

    Magnet - Northeast High School

  • Principal - Northeast Middle School

  • Principal - Southeast High School

  • Principal - Paseo High School

  • Principal - Westport High School

  • In 1985, Carl and Margaret Evans founded T-Shirt King, Inc. to fill the unmet need of providing schools, businesses, and community organizations with screen-printed and embroidered apparel.
  • Carl is extremely committed to the community of

    Kansas City.

  • NAACP - Co-Chair of the Education Committee

  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. - Life Member

  • Oak Park Neighborhood Association - Board Member

  • Prospect Max Bus Line - Committee Member

  • Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center - Former

    Board Member

  • Black Agenda Group - Education Committee

  • Little League Baseball Coach

Carl resides in Kansas City, Missouri, and is the father of Carl Evans II and Chris Evans. He has six grandchildren. He was first elected to the Kansas City Public School Board in 2011 and is seeking reelection in 2014.

2000 - 2001 – Sandra Beasley

2001 - 2002 – Theodis Watson

2002 - 2006 – Theresia Gilyard

2006 - 2007 – Dr. Mark Harrison

2008 - 2010 – Dr. Cheryl Wright

Cheryl Wright is a veteran educator with 27 years of experience in the field of education, which include experience as an undergraduate assistant professor and graduate adjunct clinical professor. In the public schools, Dr. Wright served as an elementary teacher, an elementary and secondary principal and central office administrator.

Dr. Wright has also worked extensively consulting schools, districts and non-profit organizations with identifying and securing external funding sources to meet their specific educational needs. As an adjunct clinical professor Dr. Wright taught courses for students aspiring for principal certification. Her knowledge of school and district organization, administration and policy implementation have been invaluable to expanding student knowledge and professional growth.

Dr. Wright’s professional accomplishments include providing leadership for two U.S. Department of Education National Blue Ribbon Schools in 2008 and 2014. She has consistently provided outstanding leadership to urban schools, and under her leadership student academic achievement continually improved. Other notable accomplishments include, school designated as one of the “Top-Ten” Highest Performing Schools in the state, and two schools recognized by U. S. News and World Report with a Bronze Award as “Top High Schools in the Nation.”

Dr. Wright served as the last principal of Southeast as students relocated to the Manual campus when the Southeast building became a contract school.  She lead the last class of Knights and Ladies through graduation in 2010.

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