James E. Porter

Educator, Public Servant

James E. Porter was born to Earl and Venice Porter on October 31, 1944. He called Dallas, Texas, home until he enrolled in Hardin-Simmons University, where he would plant himself and cultivate and develop key skills that would guide and shape a very successful career in educational leadership.

A music major, Jim became a member and active leader of the men’s music fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha, serving as president. As a member of the men’s social club, Kappa Phi Omega, he served as president and in other leadership positions. He was selected as the Sigma Alpha Iota “Beau” for 1966-1967. Active in student government, he served on the Men’s Interclub Council and was later elected as president of the Student Senate.

He was named to “Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges” during his senior year. Immediately upon graduation, he left Texas for Ellington, Missouri, to assume the position of music teacher for Southern Reynolds R-2 School District. In Ellington, he taught music for all grades – kindergarten through high school. He continued to pursue his education, earning his Master of Education degree in Secondary Education from North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) and certification as an Education Specialist from Central Missouri State University, with additional graduate study at Southern Methodist University, Southeast Missouri State University and the University of Virginia.

Within the Ellington Schools, he advanced to the positions of Assistant Junior High School Principal and High School Principal before moving to Amoret, Missouri, where he assumed the position of Superintendent of Schools for the Miami R-1 School District. From there, he served as Superintendent of Schools for Iron County C-4 School District, in Viburnum, Missouri, and then St. James, Missouri, as Superintendent of Schools for the St. James R-1 School District. After serving as Assistant Director of the South Central Regional Professional Development Center, with the University of Missouri at Rolla, he returned to the public school arena as Superintendent of Schools for USD#484, Fredonia, Kansas.

In addition, Jim has served as an Adjunct Instructor at both the undergraduate and graduate levels for Southwest Baptist University in Salem, Missouri, and for the University of Missouri at both the Columbia and Rolla campuses.

After 47 years in public education, including 34 as Superintendent of Schools, he retired from public education and was elected to the District 9 seat on the Kansas State Board of Education. In that elected capacity he holds one of the ten positions on the Kansas Board of Education, representing school districts primarily in southeastern Kansas.

He serves on the State Board Policy Committee, Professional Standards Board, the NASBE Governmental Affairs Committee and as liaison for the Kansas State School for the Blind.

Throughout his distinguished and successful career in Missouri and Kansas, he has always devoted time to the communities in which he has lived. Most recently, his civic involvement includes service on the Fredonia Hospital Board of Trustees, the Fredonia Arts Council and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of the 31st Judicial District.

Jim is the recipient of many honors, awards and recognitions. Included among these are “Outstanding Emeritus Educator” for the South Central District from the Missouri Association of School Administrators and the 2002 award for “Statewide Leadership in Service of At-Risk Families through Family Literacy” from the Missouri Family Literacy Initiative.

Among the many associations and councils of which he has been a member are the United School Administrators of Kansas, the Kansas Association of School Administrators, Kansas Council of Superintendents, the Kansas School Superintendents Association Board of Directors and The Leadership Academy of Missouri Department Elementary and Secondary Education.

He has served as a church music director for more than 30 years and is currently serving as director of the Fredonia Community Choir. He and his wife, Charlene, have three adult children and two grandchildren.

For his distinguished service as an educational leader and public servant, it is a high honor for Hardin-Simmons University to induct one of its own, Jim Porter, into the HSU Hall of Leaders.