Six educators will be honored as Pioneers in Education on Monday, July 31, for their commitment and contributions to public education in Missouri.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will recognize the 2017 Pioneers during the 56th Annual Cooperative Conference for School Administrators at Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach. The ceremony will take place during a luncheon where more than 600 school district leaders are expected to be in attendance.
The following individuals will be honored as 2017 Pioneers in Education:
- Saundra Allen, Jefferson City, always wanted to be a teacher and would retrieve unfinished workbooks and other classroom items at the end of each school year to use when she played school with her family. After earning her degree at Lincoln University, Saundra taught in public and private schools, eventually becoming an art teacher at East Elementary in Jefferson City, where she taught for 21 years.
- Robert Barrientos, Kansas City, graduated with honors from Newman University in Wichita and earned his master’s degree at Wichita State University. Robert started Kansas City BizFest, helping students turn hobbies into profit-making ventures and create plans for business and life. Robert has served on numerous boards and committees for the Kansas City School District.
- Robert Buchanan, Sikeston, graduated from the Bernie R-XIII at age 16 with 12 years of perfect attendance. After college, he taught in Arkansas and Missouri public schools, eventually becoming superintendent of Sikeston R-6. When he retired from Sikeston, he became a professor at Southeast Missouri State University and served as department chair for educational leadership.
- Larry Price, Albany, was encouraged to become a teacher by his ninth-grade English teacher. Larry graduated from Northwest Missouri State University and began teaching at South Nodaway R-IV. As his career advanced, Larry served as superintendent at North Andrew R-VI and Albany R-III. Upon his retirement at Albany, Larry served as an Area Supervisor of Instruction for DESE. He retired in 2015.
- Beth Rutt, Warrensburg, learned the importance of education at an early age when she accompanied her mother on visits to teach the children of migrant workers to read. Beth graduated from Lexington High School, earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and taught at the university level. She has also led school camp programs through public schools. She has served on the Warrensburg R-VI school board for 27 years.
- Sally Wear, St. Louis, attended Bayless Schools throughout her elementary and secondary education, and began working as secretary for the principal at Bayless Elementary after graduation. She served in that role for 10 years, and then became secretary at Bayless High School. Sally retired from the Bayless School District in 2000. She now provides three scholarships to graduating Bayless seniors each year.
“It is a privilege to recognize these Pioneers for their tireless devotion to education,” Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven said. “These individuals have dedicated their lives to promoting excellence in education, and we congratulate them on this honor.”
This marks the 43rd consecutive year that state education officials have presented the Pioneer in Education awards, which honor teachers, school administrators, citizens and lawmakers for their distinguished careers and contributions to Missouri public schools.