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Stiepleman Named 2021 Missouri Superintendent of the Year

September 26, 2020


Stiepleman Selected Missouri Superintendent of the Year


The Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA) has announced the selection of Dr. Peter Stiepleman, Superintendent of Columbia Public Schools, as the 2021 Missouri Superintendent of the YearDr. Stiepleman was honored during the MSBA/MASA Annual Fall Conference held virtually on September 26, 2020.


Dr. Stiepleman stated, “It is an honor to be named the MASA Superintendent of the Year. I am focused on tackling educational issues related to poverty and equity in our public schools, and each of the positions I have held has deepened my commitment to public education. Our nation's children are depending on us to break cycles of generational poverty and public education is the key. It is a privilege to be the superintendent of the Columbia Public Schools.”


MASA Executive Director, Doug Hayter, stated, "Peter Stiepleman in not only an exemplary leader for the Columbia Public Schools, but he is also a leader and trusted voice for school superintendents in Missouri and beyond. During his tenure, his community and school district experienced change, student growth and other demographic and economic challenges. There is no question his leadership philosophy has helped guide the successes achieved in one of our state’s largest districts.


Dr. Stiepleman is in his seventh year as Superintendent of the Columbia Public Schools. He started as a volunteer in Columbia Public Schools and the following year taught third grade at Derby Ridge Elementary School. He then served the Columbia Public Schools as the Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education; as Principal of West Boulevard Elementary School; as Assistant Principal, West Boulevard Elementary School; and as an Assistant Principal at Garfield Elementary School in the Oakland (California) Unified School District.


As CPS Superintendent, Dr. Stiepleman is focused on tackling educational issues related to poverty and equity in public schools.


“I believe that ordinary moments can be the most rewarding and that we miss out when we’re busy pursuing the extraordinary,” her said. “When it comes to attendance, discipline, and academic achievement, our kids will make progress because we are committed to them –we are one!”


Dr. Stiepleman shared that the Columbia Public Schools have an incredibly diverse student body, but only 14 percent of the staff identify as being teachers of color. Research shows it is important that children of color be taught by teachers who look like them and that it is important for all children to be taught by diverse educators. Knowing that the district was struggling to hire teachers of color, Dr. Stiepleman, the administrative team, and Board of Education with community member input and support, developed the CPS COMOEd Grow Our Own Teacher Development Program. Working with four local universities and colleges, as well as local businesses, the COMOEd program guarantees full-ride scholarships to a minimum of six future teachers of color each year. The district has effectively created a pipeline of locally educated, culturally competent teachers. Districts across the state are now emulating this program.


Communications is also central to Dr. Stiepleman’s leadership approach. Dr. Stiepleman is known to take every opportunity to share the district’s messages with the community. One such message, “A-E-O,” reflects the district mission to provide all students a means for achievement, enrichment and opportunity. Beyond key messages, Dr. Stiepleman actively engages students, parents, staff and community via regular dialogue sessions including meetings with past school leaders, civic organization presentations, and the annual World Café where the district hosts the community for an evening around a singular theme.


Dr. Stiepleman noted that when he began his tenure as the Columbia Public Schools’ superintendent, he spent much of his first year talking to the teaching staff about their needs. One topic that rose to the top was the importance of the evaluation process and receiving feedback on their instructional skills. Dr. Stiepleman held extensive conversations with every principal, assistant principal, coordinator, and director in order to develop means to create a consistent evaluative tool for authentic assessment.


The Missouri Association of School Administrators is pleased to honor Dr. Stiepleman as the 2021 Missouri Superintendent of the Year.


Dr. Stiepleman will be recognized during the American Association of School Administrators National Conference on Education in February 2021 for his state selection.


About MASA

The Missouri Association of School Administrators is the statewide association of public school superintendents and central office administrators.  MASA develops and supports effective public school leaders who positively impact the lives of Missouri students.