Kooi: Not Goodbye, Just ‘See You Later’

Assistant Principal Shares Letter Before Retirement
Assistant Principal Kevin Kooi delivers the 15th Staley High School Faculty Commencement Speech May 15, 2024.
Assistant Principal Kevin Kooi delivers the 15th Staley High School Faculty Commencement Speech May 15, 2024.
Izabella Berger

Dear Falcons,

How do you say goodbye to a place that’s become a second home? I wrestled with how to say goodbye to so many students and staff who mean the world to me and who made an impact and provided so many memories forever etched in my mind. I concluded that there is simply one answer to saying goodbye — it’s not goodbye but “see you later.”

Staley High School has provided me so many memories over the past nine years and I’m blessed and fortunate to have spent the final leg of my career as a member of our staff.

The most memorable occurrence from my time at Staley included watching my own two children participate in athletics and activities and then walk across the Commencement stage as Staley HS graduates!

Other memories include watching our teams win State Championships, watching our students being recognized for their academic achievements and participating with our student sections on Friday Nights! There were so many students who needed help during my time here. Being able to provide a path to graduate for those students was a highlight and experience that forever changed my life. I will miss helping our students and staff daily as this was my calling.

Lastly, I want to recognize the many faculty, teachers, cooks, custodians, instructional support, administrative assistants and my principal colleagues for the many years of support. My experience at Staley was enriched because of you. I’m forever grateful.

So… I leave with a heavy heart as I love Staley and will miss the friendships with our staff and students. However, I know our students and staff will continue to be #StaleyStrong. I wish everyone well and best wishes for continued success.

I Will See You Later,

Kevin Kooi

Assistant Principal Kevin Kooi’s 2024 Commencement Speech


If you would like to leave a message for Kooi, please comment below.



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  • Jay MusembiMay 22, 2024 at 7:09 PM

    Principal Kooi hired my mom when he used to work at Maple Park! She told me one time he called her about me and had to preface it by saying “your son’s NOT in trouble” haha

  • Tricia ScottMay 21, 2024 at 2:42 PM

    You will be missed! You truly are a champion for all students. From working with you during your Crestview days to Staley and everywhere in between you have been a true pleasure to work with. You always made decisions that were in the best interest of students.

    Pleasure to work with you, congratulations, and good luck in the future.

  • Shelby JohnsonMay 21, 2024 at 5:33 AM

    Oh Mr Kooi,
    You have no idea the impact you had on my life. We were SO LUCKY to have you as our maple park principal. Then getting to see you randomly throughout the years especially convocation and pd days- it was so exciting and I’m so thankful that after 15 years you still remember me. Love you lots and congratulations!! You deserve it!

    • Kevin KooiMay 21, 2024 at 3:02 PM

      You are a strong person who has persevered. I’m so proud of you! I wish continued success for you and your family. I was blessed to be your principal and now friend.

      Mr. K

  • Lindsay KoboltMay 21, 2024 at 5:28 AM

    Congratulations on your retirement and a successful career! When I think of my time working with you, it makes me smile! We had fun at The Park, while doing the (sometimes hard) work. You allowed for and created an atmosphere that could balance both. You challenged me and gave me space. I’m forever grateful for your leadership and wish you all the best!

    • Kevin KooiMay 21, 2024 at 3:04 PM

      You are an incredible leader. You had an amazing impact on so many students while at The Park. All the best to you as well!

  • Lana MoererMay 20, 2024 at 11:47 PM

    Congratulations on retirement! Throughout your years of guidance and mentorship you have helped to shape so many young students, including myself, find their light, keep them safe, and push hard to succeed in things they never thought they could. Thank you for all the positivity and support you’ve propelled into the North Kansas City School school district and surrounding community! Can’t wait to see what you do next. Enjoy retirement :) -Lana (Maple Park Middle School)

  • Jessica PiattMay 20, 2024 at 10:39 PM

    Mr Kooi,

    I’m so thankful to have had you as my principal at Maple Park! The class of 2016 from MPMS are so happy for you! Congratulations 🎉

  • Tatum ThomasMay 20, 2024 at 10:16 PM

    Mr. Kooi, my principal since middle school! I first just want to congratulate you on your retirement. Thank you for being such a great role model and an amazing leader. You’ve touched students hearts more than you think, including mine. I wish you the very best.

  • Gary MayabbMay 20, 2024 at 10:10 PM

    My Friend, what a great departing commencement message! You have produced so many great memories, you left markers along the way for others to follow and reap the benefits from your service to three different schools at different levels of learning… You did it right and for the right reasons! Effort and service is to be challenging… Your leadership has always been centered by your service minded heart. The concept of concentric circles that are interconnected explains a lot of what I’ve learned from you… Thank you so much for sharing that! These are great lessons I can build on for my work. You humble me by listing my name with three GIANTS! I do believe that our time shared has been vitally important for me. The like-minded warriors who stand with us and are dedicated to the art of promoting others so that they may rise to chase their dreams and commitments while providing a safety net for others until they find their next challenge is truly an art. You have been a great artist for other’s to add color to their canvas. Another nugget in your strong message that I hope hit home with your audience and one I have been particularly thankful for through our association, has been the concept that all of us can take greater risk, PUSH harder as an active teammate in the company of trustworthy peers.
    Mr. Kooi you have made the most of your time and service to your students and staff at each stop along your journey. NKC Schools have a lot to be thankful for your dedication to greater purpose and your commitment to advancing our teachers! Thank you in sharing your commencement message! I had to reflect back on something, Mohammad Ali said. “The man who views the world at 50 the same way he did at 20 he’s wasted 30 years of his life.” My friend, you didn’t waste any time, you helped others rise, including myself and my family. Your message has given me the opportunity to say thank you to you and I hope you enjoy all of these moments that you have earned!!! I hope when you stepped to the podium last week, that you paused. To take a great look around the arena soak in the moment as you pulled in a deep breath and found joy in that moment of sharing one more message for your Falcons! Gary Mayabb

  • Dorothy MayabbMay 20, 2024 at 9:45 PM

    KOOI!!! You know how we feel about you in the Mayabb house! You are so loved!! You made a huge difference in the culture at Staley High School and had a huge impact on our family as well. Thank you for being an “extra set of eyes” on Breeley. Thank you for always having a ready hug and smile for me when I saw you. And thank you for believing in and befriending the man who makes our world go round. He’ll always be “your brother”. We’re so appreciative of you and all you’ve been to us and to the community we’ve loved so much. Congratulations on your retirement!! Enjoy this time my friend!! Big, big, big love to you! Love, Dort Mayabb

  • Lisa CheesebroughMay 20, 2024 at 9:28 PM

    Kevin… aka Kooi Kooi from a famous 5th grader years ago,

    Thank you for giving 💯 daily for all your years in education. It was my delight to teach across from you when you started out at Southview. The days of “trash can basketball” as the ball was often landing in my room during your teaching of current events will always be remembered! Enjoy your next chapter!

  • Leah Carmichael (Connery)May 20, 2024 at 9:14 PM

    Mr. Kooi-

    Wishing you the absolute best in retirement!! Your impact on me at Kearney Junior High will be with me forever. I felt seen and celebrated by you many times. Your father was also such a blessing to me-always displaying the same kindness. As you settle into retirement may you always carry with you the millions of stories you helped to create. You’re one of the best.

  • Karen Davis BrownMay 20, 2024 at 9:13 PM

    Kevin Kooi, you were one of the best assistant principals with whom I ever worked. My best memories are of you dropping by my classes and talking to the kids: about the current assignment, the latest game or activity, their lives in whole. They loved your energy, your positivity, your genuine interest in them. Kids know REAL and you were the REAL deal. Welcome to retirement where a different kind of adventure awaits you—you’re going to love it!

  • Samantha McEntire NunnellyMay 20, 2024 at 5:16 PM

    Mr. Kooi you made me fall in love with Science as my science teacher in Kearney Junior High! I really hope you enjoy your retirement, you deserve it. -signed a Kearney kid who will always remember you and thanks you for your passion!

    • Kevin KooiMay 20, 2024 at 7:42 PM


      Thank you so much! We never know how someone’s experience years ago will affect them … so glad you had a great experience in my class. These words mean more than you know! Best wishes to you as well!

      Mr K