Pioneers in Education to be Honored Monday


Four educators will be honored Monday as Pioneers in Education for their commitment and contributions to public education in Missouri.

The Department will formally recognize the 2014 Pioneers during the 53rd Annual Cooperative Conference for School Administrators at the Holiday Inn Executive Center in Columbia. The ceremony will take place during a luncheon where more than 500 district leaders are expected to be in attendance.

The 2014 Pioneers in Education are:

  • Dr. Robert Bartman, Kansas City, taught English before joining the Department in 1973 as an intern. He worked in numerous capacities before serving as Missouri’s Commissioner of Education from 1987-2000. During his time as Commissioner, Dr. Bartman worked extensively with urban education policies.  Following his retirement from the Department, he served as Superintendent of the Center School District.
  • David Harrison, Springfield, has written 79 books of poetry, fiction and nonfiction for children. He also has authored 10 educational books for teachers and has been published in hundreds of reference books, magazines and newspapers. His books have sold more than 15 million copies. Harrison helped start the Springfield Public Schools Foundation, which has raised millions of dollars to support teachers with back-to-school grants.
  • Juanita Peaslee, Centerview, has spent nearly 60 years as a teacher. She has taught in the Johnson County R-VII School District at Centerview Elementary School and at Crest Ridge High School.
  • Marilyn Stewart, Kirkwood, began her career as a teacher at Henry Hough Elementary School in Kirkwood before teaching at Washington Elementary School in Normandy. She has spent the last 31 years volunteering in education, including a 17-year stint on the Kirkwood School Board, and as the President of the Missouri School Boards’ Association. Stewart has served on the Special School District (SSD) Board of Education for 14 years (2000-present), the first six years as president.

"The 2014 Pioneers are true heroes in education," said Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro. "These men and women have dedicated their lives to making an impact on thousands of Missouri students during the last half century.”

State Board President Peter Herschend and Commissioner Nicastro will present the awards.

State education officials have presented the Pioneer in Education awards each year since 1974, honoring teachers, school administrators, citizens and lawmakers for their distinguished careers and contributions to public education in Missouri.