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School Info

Oak Park History

When Oak Park High School opened in 1965, it was cooler than North Kansas City High School in at least one category: It had air conditioning

Dr. Dan Kahler said air conditioning — and the fact that it was the first completely climate-controlled school in Greater Kansas City — was a selling point when he accepted the principalship at the new high school.

But that wasn't the only change Oak Park was to make from the first high school in North Kansas City. Teachers added their input as well, suggesting features such as lights instead of bells to signal the start and end of classes. The new school had a theater in the round, bookstore and four outdoor courtyards.

"Oak Park High School was built in the open-classroom concept where we had big rooms for large groups of people," said Benny Cain, principal from 1994 to 2000.

"The concept was a school within a school. While most students went to class in the outer perimeter of the building, the mini-school was on the inside. It was more of an individualized opportunity for students to get extra help with their subjects. The main stairs was the top hangout spot."

The School's original principal, Dr. Dan Kahler, was lured away from Lawrence High School in Kansas to open Oak Park in 1965. Kahler, or DK as staff and students alike called him, said he never regretted coming to Oak Park. He remembers that first year as joyously busy.

"I probably worked more hours that year than I'd ever worked before," Dr. Kahler said. But in the end, the successes were numerous and worth all the work.

"It was a magical year."

(Excerpts above from 100 Years - A History of North Kansas City Schools)

Past Oak Park High School principals include:

  • Dr. Dan Kahler (1965-1986)
  • Robert West (1986-1994)
  • Benny Cain (1994-2000)
  • John Krueger (2000-2006)
  • Fred Skretta (2006-2011)
  • Joe Hesmann (2011-2013)
  • Mark Maus (2013-2016)
  • Dr. Christopher Sartain (2016-2021)
  • Dr. Christopher McCann (2021-2022)
  • Dr. Molly Smith (2022-present)

Quick Facts

Grades: 9-12
Established: 1965
Mascot: Northmen
Colors: Navy and Columbia Blue

School Hours:  7:43 a.m. - 2:40 p.m. 

Half-Day Release is 11:01 a.m.

Phone: (816) 321-5320