So Nance, formerly the assistant superintendent, spent his day traveling from school to school throughout the district. He said he was pleased with the enthusiasm for learning he saw in teachers and students alike. Also he wanted to use the opportunity to make students feel at ease.
"It is important that administrators and teachers make students feel welcome. By welcoming students with open arms we hope to get the students off to a good start, not just in the elementary grades, but the middle school and high school too," said Nance.
Also Nance said he believes it is important he understands what is going on at all the schools and that he hears from everyone in the district.
"I feel that promoting communication between the school and the community is an important part of my job. I want to encourage this through example by being in the schools and classrooms in this district talking to the teachers, students and parents," said Nance. "A dialogue between the school and home is probably the most effective tool in helping students."
Nance already understands the many different roles involved in the R-1 District. He was a teacher, a principal and the director of elementary education before being named assistant superintendent.
As assistant superintendent, Nance said he had many different duties but could always turn to his boss to ensure the decisions he made were the right ones. "When I was assistant superintendent, I was responsible for many things. As superintendent, I'm responsible for everything," he said.
The transition to his new job began long before he moved into the office held by his predecessor, Dr. Mike Barnes.
In March Nance and the district staff began working on the 2005-06 budget. Approved in June, the budget totals $16.2 million in expenditures, up from $15.5 million the previous year while revenue is estimated at $16,237,000. The tax rate, set at the August meeting, is $2.93 per $100 assessed valuation, which is up 12 cents from last year.
According to Nance, the budget increase is partly due to a cost of living hike of 2.5 percent for certified and non-certified staff.
"It is very important to provide a good education for our students. In order to do this you must have a quality staff and salaries must remain competitive," said Nance about the salary increase.
The district also had some capital outlays including the purchase of five new buses for this school year. Other improvements approved for the current school year included a partial roof at New Madrid Elementary ($125,000), carpeting for the Middle School ($12,000), carpeting at Lilbourn Elementary School ($13,000), and painting, air conditioners and hardware purchases for the restrooms at Matthews Elementary ($10,000).
In addition the district purchased a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system for the Central High School's A and B pods. The superintendent pointed out the system was 30 years old and added the new system should be more cost efficient.
Keeping careful watch over the district's finances is an important part of his job as superintendent, Nance said. "I believe a good superintendent must be aware of the financial insecurities facing school districts today. Carefully considering how to manage the money entrusted to our school district is an important duty of this position and one that I take very seriously," he said.
Also he has set as a goal in his leadership position to work to ensure the district has in place the necessary components in order to meet the standards required by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Meeting these standards, Nance explained, will result in the district continuing to maintain full accreditation.
He has reviewed the recently released MAP scores and said overall he is pleased with them. Also he was pleased to note the district's dropout rate has declined significantly in the past year.
Settling into the leather chair in his office, Nance paused to reflect on his career and its changes: "You know there isn't a better place to work."