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Waters and Willoughby win the seats on the Columbia Board of Education


Suzette Waters and incumbent Blake Willoughby have won seats on the Columbia Board of Education with 100% of precincts reporting. Waters received 12,547 votes and Willoughby got 11,277 votes. Third place, Andrea Lisenby, got 9,493 votes.

Waters and Willoughby will each serve three-year terms.

Blake Willoughby

Blake Willoughby is the only one of the four running who is currently on the Columbia Board of Education and he is seeking re-election for his second term.

Willoughby was elected at age 25 in 2019 as the youngest person to serve on the school board. He is currently a doctoral student at the University of Missouri where he instructs future educators. Willoughby also serves on several city boards.

He is in support of the $80 million bond issue and raising the starting teacher pay to $40k per year.

Suzette Waters

Suzette Waters is an alumna of Columbia Public Schools and her children are or have been students in the district.

Waters has been a resident in Columbia for 34 years. She is a dental hygienist but says he side hustle is volunteering in schools.

The platform outlined on her campaign website includes support for teachers, encouraging student achievement and open communication with the community.

Waters also supports the $80 million bond issue and raising teachers' starting pay to $40k per year.

Adam Burks

Adam Burks is one of three newcomers to the race and has been critical of the administrators at CPS.

Burks is from Harrisburg and graduated from Columbia College. He is a volunteer for the Boone County Fire Protection District where he is a captain and fire station manager. Burks is also the safety/security manager for Midway USA where he works on the company’s COVID-19 response.

Burks currently has four kids in CPS and wants to work more with the teacher/community relationships. "We have experienced unaccountable and unconcerned administrators who seem to go out of their way to undermine and ignore CPS parents and teachers.”

Burks says he supports the $80 million bond issue and believes teachers should have a starting salary of at least $40k per year.

Andrea Lisenby

Andrea Lisenby is a newcomer looking for a spot on the board of education. She is a mother of three, with two kids in CPS, and wants to make the board more accessible to the public.

Linsenby has been a Columbia resident for 14 years and says she has a strong background in science and leadership. She says "the first step is for board members to listen and learn."

Lisenby says she will be voting 'yes' in support the $80 million bond issue and to start teacher pay at $40k per year.

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Chanel Porter

Chanel joined ABC 17 News in January 2021 after graduating from Penn State University. She enjoys traveling and a daily iced coffee.


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