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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Prairie View hires Missouri woman to lead district

Updated: Mar 4, 2023

Chris Johnson, a superintendent from Crane (Mo.) R-III has been hired to be superintendent at Prairie View USD 362. (Screen capture/

LA CYGNE – The Prairie View USD 362 Board of Education announced on Tuesday, Feb. 28, that it had selected Chris Johnson of Crane, Mo., to be the district's new superintendent. The announcement was made on the district’s website and Facebook page.

Johnson will be replacing current Superintendent Rex Bollinger, who is retiring from the Prairie View position but has accepted a post as superintendent for a district in northwestern Missouri. The new superintendent will take over the post on July 1.

Johnson was chosen from a field of four applicants including Joseph Hornback, assistant superintendent and high school principal who has been with Prairie View district since 2018; Travis Laver, the superintendent at Pleasanton USD 344, who announced his retirement from that district last December after 13 years in the top spot; and John Whetzal, superintendent at Riverside USD 114 in Wathena, Kan.

Johnson comes to the post with 11 years of experience as a superintendent, including the last eight years at Crane R-III in Crane, Mo.

District officials posted a statement by Johnson along with the announcement of her hire.

“I am so excited to have been selected to be the next superintendent of Prairie View USD 362,” said Johnson in the prepared statement. “I have been in education for 29 years with 11 years of experience as a superintendent.

“My last eight years have been at Crane R-III in Crane, Mo., which is south of Springfield, Mo., about 30 minutes.”

Johnson earned her bachelor’s degree is in Elementary Education from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Mo. and her master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Central Methodist University. She also holds a specialist and and a doctorate from University of Missouri in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.

“My husband and I have been married for almost 37 years,” she said. “We have two sons that are grown and one grandson. We are rural farm people and love the country life! I can’t wait to meet the staff and community and get to know you. Go Buffalos!”

Editors note: In an earlier version of this story Joseph Hornback's name was misspelled. We regret the error.

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