Schools Superintendent Chase's letter explains her decision to retire

Tuesday, August 5, 2008 | 1:12 p.m. CDT; updated 1:22 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, August 5, 2008

This is a letter Phyllis Chase sent out to people in the schools, community members and others about her retirement as superintendent of Columbia Public Schools effective Aug. 31.

August 5, 2008


Dear Columbia Public Schools Family,

Recently, I was notified by the Public Schools Retirement System that my years of service, coupled with my age, meet the requirement for full retirement. After weighing several options, I have decided to retire from the Columbia Public Schools effective August 31, 2008.

While I am happy to have the opportunity to retire, I am sad to leave a district where I have come to know the individuals who work here as the most dedicated, hard working, intelligent, and caring staff with whom I've had the privilege to work. For me, this is, and will always be, a great loss.

It has been my honor these last five years to champion for our talented students, exemplary staff, committed parents, and caring community. Working together, much has been accomplished. From the initiation of a model school that demonstrates our mantra that "all kids can learn at high levels," to the passage of the largest bond issue in Columbia's history that will enable us to build our first new high school in 36 years and our 20th elementary school, Columbia Public Schools has been on the move. Recent student, school and district performance as assessed by Missouri's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education indicates this district will be named for the fifth year in a row, one with Distinction in Performance. This is a recognition of which we can all be proud.

While our accomplishments have been many, significant challenges remain. No Child Left Behind mandates and increased state requirements, coupled with diminishing resources will no doubt tax our fortitude. With these and other issues, I believe there are no simple causes, nor simple fixes.

The solutions will require imagination, collaboration, perseverance, dialogue, and a willingness to commit to continuous improvement. We are fortunate to have a Board of Education that cares deeply for the students of this district and the staff who daily support our teaching and learning efforts. I am confident the Board's focus on the district goals to increase achievement for all students, while eliminating achievement disparities amongst and between groups of students, will continue to provide clear direction for our efforts.

Last year the district theme was "It's being done!" This theme accurately reflects Columbia Public Schools' history, current efforts, and future achievements. We have done it, we are doing it, and we will continue to focus on what matters: each child achieving at his or her highest level.

Thank you and best wishes.



Phyllis A. Chase



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