Photo of Craig Hayden

Craig Hayden has been announced as the next assistant superintendent of Perry County School District 32. Mr. Hayden, who has been the director of Perryville Area Career & Technology Center for 9 years, will begin his new duties on July 1.


Mr. Hayden is a PHS graduate. He earned a bachelor of science in business administration from Southeast Missouri State University, where he also earned a business education certification. He earned a master’s degree in educational administration in 2009, and then a specialist in educational administration from Southeast in 2013.

He first worked as a deputy juvenile officer for the 32nd Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri, and then served as the administrator of the regional juvenile detainment/holding center in Cape Girardeau. He entered the world of education in 1999 as a business education teacher and coach at St. Vincent High School and then Perryville High School. He served one year as assistant principal at PHS before joining Ca

pe Girardeau Public Schools as an assistant principal in August 2010. Mr. Hayden returned to District 32 in July 2014 to lead Perryville Area Career and Technology Center.


He said he made the leap from juvenile justice to education because he wanted to better serve young people. “The more I worked with young people in the juvenile justice system, the more I wanted to reach them before they got to that point. I wanted to be a mentor who helped them discover that they could do great things, and I’d always been interested in teaching and coaching. It was a wonderful transition, and I truly enjoy working with our young people at the Career Center as they are finding their path to adulthood.”


Mr. Hayden said he had two important mentors, who shared wisdom that helped him in his career. “David Toney, a retired director of our career center, told me to always keep my expectations for students very high, because they will reach up and grab the opportunity to meet those expectations,” he said. “And Mike Cowan, who was my principal at CGPS, always reminded us that we’re here for kids and everything else is secondary. They are both awesome gentlemen and have greatly influenced my career.”


Mr. Hayden will succeed Jeanie White, who has announced her retirement at the end of the school year after serving 8 years as the assistant superintendent. Superintendent Andy Comstock will also retire June 30, and Deputy Superintendent Dr. Fara Jones will become superintendent on July 1.



While he’s excited about his move to Central Office, he is going to miss working daily with his colleagues and students at the career center. “I am going to miss those daily interactions,” Mr. Hayden said. “This is a tremendously talented team of people who work very hard to make sure that our students have the benefit of cutting-edge technology and professional certification programs. They go above and beyond to keep up with industry standards and maintain industry connections. I’ve been very proud to be part of the Career Center family; they are truly my family away from home.”


Mr. Hayden said that he’s looking forward to creating new relationships in his new role. “I believe that leaders must be visible and accessible, so I plan to spend as much time as I can interacting with staff and students in all of our buildings. I think that helps support a positive culture and climate. The culture of an organization is what we build and how we act, and the climate is that feeling you get when you walk into the building. We’ve got great things going on all across campus, and I’m excited to work with Dr. Jones to support that work.”


He is also eager to play a role in the ongoing capital improvements on campus. “Isn’t it neat to see the progress we’re making with our new buildings? Our community is providing for our students such a modern, safe place where they want to be, where they can be proud and excited for the opportunities ahead of them. The great thing is that, while we’re constructing buildings, we’re focusing on also improving what is happening inside; we’re student- and staff-centered. We’re working to retain great teachers, and refining our instructional practices. We have a lot of good things going on.”


As an alumnus of the PHS Class of 1983, Mr. Hayden said that District 32 has always felt like home. “I’m a proud Pirate,” he said, “and I’m grateful for this new opportunity to serve my school.”


He and his wife Debbie, who were high-school sweethearts, will celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary in June. They have two daughters, Brooke (Matt) Lukefahr and Annie Hayden, and two granddaughters, Brynn and Emma.