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New Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Quality Schools Begins Work

Chris Neale, Ed. D., assumed his new role as assistant commissioner for the Office of Quality Schools on July 1. Dr. Neale most recently served as superintendent of Gasconade County R-I Schools in Hermann, Mo.

“We need to ensure that kids in Missouri get the best education we can provide,” Dr. Neale said. “That’s why we come to work each day.”

Surveys Show Missouri Educators Strongly Support Top 10 by 20 Goals

Recent surveys conducted by the Department reveal educators overwhelmingly support the goals within Missouri’s Top 10 by 20 initiative.

More than 9,000 teachers, administrators and public information officers from around the state participated in surveys regarding Top 10 by 20. The initiative, which began in 2011, calls for Missouri to rank among the top 10 states nationally for education by 2020. It centers around three main goals:

Leadership Academy Marks 30th Anniversary; 20 years for Regional Professional Development Centers

Two hallmarks of excellence in Missouri’s history of education professional development are marking anniversaries. Leadership Academy has offered training in the central principles of development for school leaders for three decades, celebrating the graduation of its 30th class this year. The 2015-16 Leadership Academy this week kicked off its year-long training for more than 100 school leaders from around the state.

New Member Appointed To Normandy Joint Executive Governing Board

The State Board has appointed the Reverend Cedric Portis, Sr. to fill a vacancy on the Joint Executive Governing Board (JEGB) of the Normandy Schools Collaborative. The vacancy was created when board member Dr. Charles Pearson became superintendent of Normandy schools.

Portis, a Normandy High School graduate, serves as senior pastor of Third Presbyterian Church in St. Louis and as adjunct professor of Ethics, Critical Thinking and Organizational Leadership for the University of West Los Angeles. He previously worked as project manager for a variety of engineering projects.

Content Assessment Qualifying Scores to Remain Same

Qualifying scores on all Missouri Content Assessments will remain the same for the 2015-16 test year, while some exams will be adjusted using other measures.

The State Board did not take action on adjusting the scores. Further discussion will take place in July when the State Board meets with the Coordinating Board of Higher Education. The Board will revisit the issue again at its regularly scheduled August meeting.

School Districts to get Faster Results with Enhanced Background Checks

As part of ongoing efforts to protect the safety of Missouri children, school districts and charter schools across the state now have access to enhanced background checks for school employees and applicants. The new system allows schools to know more quickly when an employee has been arrested for an alleged crime. Yearly background checks are required by law for any public school staff members who have contact with students.

The enhanced system provides several benefits:

Missouri Graduate Headed to Brazil for WorldSkills Competition

Brock Miesner of St. Ann, Mo. is on the U.S. team going to the WorldSkills competition in Sao Paolo, Brazil, August 11-16. Miesner will be competing in the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning category for the SkillsUSA World Team.

Miesner is a graduate of Perryville High School in Perryville, Mo. He credits his classes at Perryville Area Career Center for his chosen field, further evidence of the great things taking place in Missouri public schools every day.