Department Names Two to Top Posts


The Department has chosen two candidates to fill recently vacated positions within its executive leadership. Stacey Preis, Ph.D., has been named Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Learning Services, and William (Bill) Thornton has been chosen as general counsel.

Dr. Preis has been serving as assistant commissioner for the Department’s Office of Early and Extended Learning since 2014. Prior to coming to the Department, Dr. Preis worked as executive director of the Joint Committee on Education for the Missouri General Assembly. She has also worked in various capacities for the University of Missouri-Columbia and began her career as a high school English and journalism teacher in Jefferson City Public Schools. Dr. Preis holds a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s degree in education and a doctorate in educational policy studies, all from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Bill Thornton comes to the Department from his previous post as general counsel for the Department of Higher Education, a position he has held since 2011. Mr. Thornton previously worked for the State of Kansas as Secretary of Commerce under former Governor Mark Parkinson. Prior to that, he practiced law for several years with private firms. Mr. Thornton holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature and communications from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and a law degree from Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas. His first day with the Department will be February 9, 2015.

“We are proud that people of the caliber of Stacey Preis and Bill Thornton are working with the Department,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “We are certain their backgrounds and expertise will serve the state well as Missouri continues to strive toward our goal of ranking among the top ten states in education by 2020.”