Facts About the Missouri State Board of Education
According to the Missouri Constitution, “The supervision of instruction in the public schools shall be vested in a state board of education ...” (Article IX, Section 2a). This provision gives the State Board of Education general authority for public education, within limits set by the General Assembly.
The Board is made up of eight citizens appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Members serve staggered, eight-year terms so that one term expires each year. No more than four members of the Board may belong to the same political party. No more than one member of the Board may reside in the same county or Congressional district. When terms expire, members continue to serve until being replaced or reappointed. The Board elects its own officers each year. Members receive $25 for each day of an official meeting.
The Board’s duties and responsibilities range from preschool to the postsecondary and adult levels. The Board does not have direct authority over higher education institutions. However, the Board sets standards for and approves courses and professional programs for teachers and school administrators in Missouri’s public and private higher education institutions.
Under federal law, the Board serves as the state-level governing body for career and technical education programs provided by local school districts, community colleges and four-year institutions.
The Board has no authority to regulate or accredit private, parochial or home schools in the state.
- Appointing the Commissioner of Education and setting policies for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
- Defining academic performance standards and assessment requirements for public schools.
- Accrediting local school districts. The Board accredits school districts through the “Missouri School Improvement Program,” which includes minimum standards for high school graduation, curriculum, student testing, support services and other areas of school operations.
- Establishing requirements for the education, testing, assessment, certification and recertification of all public school teachers and administrators.
- Operating the Missouri School for the Blind (St. Louis), the Missouri School for the Deaf (Fulton), and the statewide system of Missouri Schools for the Severely Disabled
- Overseeing federal education programs and the distribution of federal funds to school districts.
- Establishing regulations for school bus safety and for fiscal management in local school districts.
- Submitting annual budget recommendations for education to the Missouri Legislature.
- Administering the state’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Sheltered Workshop program, which provide services for adult Missouri citizens with disabilities.
- Peter F. Herschend, Branson, was first appointed to the State Board of Education in December 1991. He was re-appointed for new terms in November 1999 and October 2007. He is founder and co-owner of Herschend Family Entertainment Corp., which owns Silver Dollar City and other entertainment properties. Before his appointment to the State Board, Mr. Herschend served 12 years on the Branson Board of Education.
- Michael W. Jones, St. Louis, was appointed to the Board in March 2011. He is a senior policy adviser to the county executive in St. Louis County. Mr. Jones has more than 30 years of experience specializing in public policy development and implementation. A St. Louis native, he holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
- Deborah L. Demien, Wentzville, was appointed to the State Board in March 2006. She is director of marketing for Demien Construction. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and history from Southwest Missouri State University and a master’s degree in education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
- J. Michael Ponder, Cape Girardeau, was appointed to the State Board in March 2009. Mr. Ponder is a partner in the Cape Girardeau law firm of Cook, Barrett, Maguire and Ponder. He is a 1990 graduate of the University of Missouri School of Law.
- Charlie W. Shields, St. Joseph, was appointed to the State Board in August 2012. He is Chief Operating Officer of Truman Medical Center (TMC) Lakewood. Mr. Shields joined TMC in July 2010, after serving 20 years in the Missouri General Assembly as part of the House of Representatives, a Republican member of the Senate and most recently as President Pro Tem. He earned his bachelor's degree in marketing and his master's of business administration from the University of Missouri.
- Russell C. Still, Columbia, was appointed to the State Board in April 2010. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Missouri School of Law. He has been a classroom teacher and a PTA president. Mr. Still also was a member of the Columbia Board of Education (1996-2005). He is a partner in the law firm of Harlan, Harlan & Still.