John ‘J.D.’ Rios

2006 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

J. D. Rios Portrait

Wyandotte High School, 1979

Education is more than academics; it’s absorbing the finer points of culture – good manners, respect for parents and loyalty to one’s family and friends. J.D. Rios believes this and lives it.

A life-long educator, he has had experience in all aspects of the field in the Kansas City, Kansas School District.

He began his career teaching history at Arrowhead Middle School, then Central Middle. He then took a position as the district’s dropout prevention specialist. Missing his daily interaction with the students, he then took a position as assistant principal at Argentine Middle. He continued his move up the ladder to principal where he served for seven years before becoming assistant superintendent of human resources in 2005.

He said he has fond memories of growing up in the KCK schools. There was a deep sense of “community” back then and he benefited from the nurturing environment, including home visits from his teachers.

His mom, whom he calls his “guiding light,” has been a constant source of encouragement throughout his life. A number of teachers and administrators also have given him reasons to believe in himself. Mrs. Thebo, his English teacher at Central Junior High, encouraged him to write and saw leadership ability in him. She nominated him for 9th grade class president and, to his surprise, he was elected. He continued to run and win class president positions all throughout his high school years.

Rios is involved in a number of community organizations including El Centro where he has spent three years as chairman of the board. He is on the United Way Regional Board of Trustees and serves on the KCK Community College Board of Trustees, among others.

He describes his life-long career in the field of education as “interesting and invigorating” and he said he is looking forward to many more years.

“Education is a partnership for success,” he said. “If all the partners work together, then success happens.”