2023-24 Leadership Appointments


Dr. Lacey Adams Appointed Director of Elementary Education
Dr. Lacey Adams has been appointed Director of Elementary Education. Adams currently serves as principal at Bessie Ellison Elementary. For nearly 23 years, Adams has served SJSD as a principal, assistant principal, and teacher.

Adams holds a B.S.in Education, M.S. in Elementary Leadership, and an Ed.S. in Superintendency from Northwest Missouri State University. In 2020, Adams earned a Doctorate in Leadership from William Woods University. 

Adams is married to her husband Joe and together, they enjoy raising three children. She said she is looking forward to the opportunity to serve her alma mater and community in a broader sense.

"I am pleased to join the district leadership team in propelling the district forward through carrying out our mission and vision," said Adams. 

Her career has provided her with vast national, state, and local educational leadership opportunities. In 2011 and 2018, Adams was honored as a Missouri Distinguished Principal nominee. In 2012, she was invited to the White House on behalf of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. There, she met with the U.S. Secretary of Education’s cabinet, regarding the revision of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). 

Adams has served as the president of the local chapter of the Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals and in various volunteer positions within the St. Joseph community.

Julie Coon Appointed Principal of Mark Twain Early Learning Center
Coon came to the district in 2022, from the Mid-Buchanan School District, as the Vice Principal of the Early Learning Center. During her 17-year tenure at Mid-Buchanan she taught Kindergarten, Preschool and Special Education.  Her last three years in the Mid-Buchanan District were spent as the district’s Special Services Director. 

She earned her bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Missouri Western State University with certifications in Early Childhood, Early Childhood Special Education, and Cross Categorical.  She also holds a master’s in Education from Baker University.  In 2019, Coon obtained her Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership-Director of Special Education from Arkansas State University. 

Coon is married to her husband Gregg, and they have two children. She is looking forward to the opportunity to meet the needs of the littlest learners in the St. Joseph community.  

“I am excited to continue my career in the area of Early Childhood with the St. Joseph School District,” said Coon.  

Throughout her career she has been formally trained in Project Construct, Conscious Discipline, Orton Gillingham, and Intensive Teaching.


Shawna Gilliland Appointed Central High School Assistant Principal

Shawna Gilliland will serve as an assistant principal at Central High School. She is currently serving in the role as administrative intern at CHS. Her past positions in the district include International Baccalaureate coordinator and mathematics teacher at CHS. She earned her bachelor’s in Mathematics from Missouri Western State University. She received both her master’s in Mathematics Education and a Specialist in Educational Administration from Northwest Missouri State University. Gilliland earned her National Board Certification in 2008. 

David Chaney Appointed Webster Learning Center Assistant Principal
David Chaney has worked in education for 14 years. He currently works in the Independence School District where he has served as a science teacher, middle school assistant principal, and currently, as the secondary assistant principal at Independence Academy. Chaney worked in the SJSD for seven years as a science teacher at Robidoux Middle School prior to moving to the Independence School District. He will return to the SJSD as an assistant principal at Webster Learning Center. He holds a bachelor’s of Science in middle school Math and Science Education, a master’s in K-12 Educational Leadership, and a Specialist in School Superintendency all from Northwest Missouri State University.

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