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SPS exec to retire from district, start law office

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A Springfield Public Schools executive who has 20 years of public education experience is retiring from the district to start a local law office for a St. Louis firm.

Penney Rector, chief human resources officer for SPS, is slated to exit her role Dec. 31 after four years with the district, according to a news release. As HR leader at SPS, Rector has been responsible for hiring, onboarding, evaluating and supporting the district's workforce of more than 3,500 employees. She also is the district's lead representative for five collective bargaining units.

“Mrs. Rector is a tremendous asset to SPS, just as she has been to many other Missouri school districts, faithfully serving as an advocate of public education throughout her career,” said Grenita Lathan, SPS superintendent, in the release. “Penney has a statewide network of educators who are familiar with her exceptional leadership. She initially considered retiring at the end of the 2020-2021 school year, and I appreciate her willingness to remain in her role through the end of December to provide support with the transition."

SPS is currently evaluating a transition plan and timeline for its HR department.

After leaving SPS, Rector is slated to launch a Springfield office in 2022 for St. Louis-based Mickes O'Toole LLC, according to the release. Her practice will have an emphasis on education.

Mickes O'Toole, which counts education law among its specialties, has two offices in St. Louis, as well as one each in Kansas City and Edwardsville, Illinois, according to its website.

A graduate of the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law, Rector has experience overseeing legal services and government relations for the Missouri Council of School Administrators, Missouri Association of School Administrators and Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals. She began her career in the Missouri attorney general's office, according to the release.

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