Here is a partial list of events in the educational and professional life of Phyllis Chase, who announced Tuesday she is retiring as superintendent of Columbia Public Schools:
1971: Graduates from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in English and speech communications.
1971-1973: Middle school language arts teacher at Council Bluffs School District, in Iowa.
1975-1976: High school senior English teacher at Omaha Public Schools, in Nebraska.
1978: Graduates from Creighton University with a master’s degree in guidance and counseling.
1980-1986: High school counselor at Topeka Public Schools, in Kansas.
1986-1988: Director of guidance for TPS.
1987: Graduates from the University of Kansas with a doctoral degree in education, specializing in curriculum and instruction.
1988-1990: Director of student services for TPS.
1990-1994: General director of curriculum and instruction for TPS.
1994-1995: Director of instructional services for Kansas City Missouri School District.
1995-1996: Director of curriculum and instruction for KCMSD.
1996-1997: Assistant superintendent for support services at KCMSD.
October 1997-November 1998: Chief administrator for curriculum and instruction for KCMSD.
November 1998-2000: Acting superintendent for KCMSD.
May 2000-June 2003: Chief of staff at Springfield Public Schools, in absence of a superintendent.
February 2003: Fourteen superintendent candidates for Columbia Public Schools, including Chase, are narrowed down to five. She interviews with the Columbia School Board for the position, and the board names her as superintendent Feb. 23.
July 2003: Chase takes over for retiring Superintendent Jim Ritter, becoming the district’s 25th superintendent. The school board extended her contract every year, giving her raises annually.
April 2004: West Boulevard Elementary is designated by the school board as a ‘model school.’ The program was mainly designed by Chase.
April 2007: Traditional math advocate and Parents for Real Math founder Michelle Pruitt launches a petition addressed to Columbia Public Schools and Chase stating that current curricula used by the district “has been discredited and abandoned in other regions of the country after they failed to deliver demonstrable results.” Controversy about how math is taught continues, with task forces dedicated to it.
April 2007: District voters approve the largest bond issue in Columbia’s history, about $60 million, that will enable the district to build its first high school in 36 years as well as the district’s 20th elementary school. It is the first of three such bond issues expected to go before voters for capital projects.
June 2007: School board members act on a recommendation from Chase and approve a site east of Columbia at Rangeline and New Haven roads, known as the Vemer property, for Columbia’s next public high school.
August 2007: Chase appoints a 21-citizen led committee, headed by former superintendent Jim Ritter, to evaluate new locations to be considered for the next public high school.
September 2007: The school district reveals five other land offers up for consideration for the site of the next public high school.
October 2007: The high school site recommendation committee recommends the 80-acre St. Charles Road Development site, located in the northeast part of the district for the location of the next public high school.
November 2007: The school board unanimously approves the site the high school committee recommended as the location of the new high school, with little discussion.
December 2007: Columbia Public Schools is among 294 districts in the state to win Distinction in Performance award for the fourth consecutive year. “This award is a testament to the hard work our students, teachers, administrators and staff have put forth. The entire community should be proud of their work,” Chase says in a news release.
April 2008: Voters reject a 54-cent property tax levy increase by almost 62 percent.
June 2008: Chase volunteers to take a $20,000 pay cut in the context of major budget-tightening across the district. The board approves an operating budget for the 2008-09 year that reflects about $10 million in cuts.
August 2008: Missouri Assessment Program test scores show that three out of 28 schools met federal achievement requirements, fewer than in previous years.
Aug. 5, 2008: Chase announces retirement, effective Aug. 31.
Sources: Superintendent Phyllis Chase’s CV, posted on the Columbia Public Schools’ Web site, as well as Missourian and Columbia Daily Tribune archives.
2003-04: Salary of $123,000.
2004-05: Salary of $126,000.
2005-06: Salary of $180,000.
2006-07: Salary of $190,800.
2007-08: Salary of $200,340.