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5-3-24 — Honoring Former Superintendent Dr. Marlin Berry

It is with deep sadness that we share the passing of former Olathe Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Marlin Berry. Dr. Berry's passion for education and his leadership in our district and beyond have left a lasting impact. Please join us in keeping your thoughts with the Berry family during this time. Below is a statement from Superintendent Dr. Brent Yeager. 

Dr. Marlin Berry pictured with Olathe studentsYesterday we were made aware of the passing of former Olathe superintendent Dr. Marlin Berry. We are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Berry and our thoughts and prayers are with the Berry family during this difficult time. The world of education has lost one of the all-time greats, but we are proud that his legacy continues to live on through the impact he has had here in Olathe, throughout Kansas and in Arkansas.

Dr. Berry joined Olathe Public Schools in July 2007 as assistant superintendent. In 2010, he became our district’s fifth superintendent since consolidation, serving in that role through 2016. During his tenure, Dr. Berry quickly became a beloved member of the Olathe community and was known for his keen sense of humor (which was often a highlight of his welcome back videos to staff). Most importantly, he was known for his passion for educating kids and his ability to connect with people on an individual basis. His inspiring leadership not only caught the attention of our Olathe staff and families, but was also recognized throughout the state, and in 2013 Dr. Berry was named Kansas Superintendent of the Year.

Dr. Berry served more than 40 years in education, and we are blessed that six of those years were right here in Olathe. During his time as superintendent, we saw substantial growth in enrollment and opened three buildings - Mission Trail Middle School, OATC and Millbrooke Elementary. He was also foundational in supporting the design and construction of Olathe West High School. Despite this rapid growth within our community, through Dr. Berry’s leadership, we were able to maintain that “small-town” feel that Olathe is known for. He was responsible for shifting our district name from The Olathe School District to Olathe Public Schools, emphasizing that our schools are truly embedded within our community and that as a public institution, we all have a responsibility and a stake in preparing students for their future.

On a personal note, Marlin has been a true mentor to me during my time as an educator and leader here in Olathe. It was such an honor to work closely with him and learn from him. He and I both joined the district in 2007 when I became principal at Fairview Elementary and I am grateful every day that he took a chance on me when he asked me to come to the district to serve as Director of Elementary Education in 2011. I know this is not a sentiment unique to me. Marlin took time to invest in countless Olathe staff throughout the district and has made a lasting impact on many lives. After his time in Olathe, he served as a superintendent in Rogers, Ark. before retiring and moving to Wichita to be close to family and his grandchildren.

I know many of you may want to express your condolences and support for the Berry family. We have been in contact with the Berry family and have offered to help facilitate cards for those who are interested in sharing a note of support. Please send your cards to the Education Center (14160 S. Black Bob Rd. Olathe, KS 66062) or through interoffice mail in care of Marlin Berry and our team will collect the cards to share with the family. Please join me in keeping Dr. Berry and his family in your thoughts and prayers as we extend our heartfelt sympathy to them.


Dr. Brent Yeager