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Columbia Public Schools

State education leaders discuss process of finding a school district’s new superintendent

Missouri School Boards Association


State education leaders explain the process of finding a school district's new superintendent, as Columbia Public Schools will soon start a search for its own.

Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Peter Stiepleman told the school board Thursday that he will retire at the end of the year.

Stiepleman said he planned his retirement to coincide with his oldest son's high school graduation.

June 30 will be his final day.

Stiepleman started as a teacher with the school district before he was promoted to superintendent in 2014.

A spokeswoman for CPS said the Columbia Board of Education will use a search firm to find Stiepleman's replacement. 

The districts will release a request for proposal for search firms to apply soon.

The Missouri School Boards Association is likely a firm that will apply, which is the same firm that helped conduct the search for a superintendent back in 2014, landing on Peter Stiepleman.

Brent Ghan, the Deputy Executive Director of MSBA said the hiring of a superintendent is the most important decision a school board will make, so going through a very comprehensive process is vital for finding the best fit for the district. 

While looking for a candidate, Ghan, said community input is important in the decision making process, as well as communication and leadership skills, especially now.

"COVID-19 is a great example and superintendents and school boards around the state are, are facing this issue right now,” said Ghan. “Something they never dreamed that they'd be facing having to make decisions that they never dreamed they would have to be making, and sometimes those decisions are not always popular, but you know it's an example of a crisis situation that can arise statewide nationally or even in a local community."

The Missouri Association of School Administrators selected Stiepleman as "Superintendent of the Year" in September of 2020.

David Luther,  Director of communications for MASA said looking for a qualified candidate during COVID-19 will have its challenges.

"You're still looking for all the qualities that we talked about as far as leadership,” said Luther. “But to find those people and to bring them into your community. That's going to be a challenge for school districts so my hope of course on a very personal level is that superintendents are doing, they're doing a great job decide to stay. But I also understand that there are a variety of reasons why they may choose to retire."

Both associations believe the Columbia Board of Education will have no problem finding high-quality candidates for the job.

Luther said Columbia is a great destination for those in education, as it is an education town with a strong school district and good staff.

"I think the Columbia Superintendent job is... very desirable job,” said Ghan. “This is an outstanding school district, and one that a lot of folks will be looking at as far as the superintendent opening.”

Columbia / Education / K-12 education / News / Top Stories
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Amber Tabeling

Amber joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in December 2019. She was a student-athlete at Parkland College and Missouri Valley College. She hails from a small town in Illinois.


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