Columbia schools to name interim chief; Ritter likely choice

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 | 9:47 p.m. CDT; updated 10:39 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, August 12, 2008

COLUMBIA - A decision has been made about who will lead Columbia Public Schools on a temporary basis, but members of the Columbia School Board won't make it public until 8:30 Wednesday morning. Visit for the news as it breaks.

The likely name is Jim Ritter, 70, who served as schools superintendent from 1998 until Phyllis Chase arrived in 2003. Ritter is also the husband of Rock Bridge High School Principal Kathy Ritter.


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Jim Ritter was the only non-member of the Columbia School Board to meet with the board in its closed session, which lasted for almost 2½ hours Tuesday evening. All seven board members were present.

"We talked about the issues the school board and the district had over the past year and the opportunities they see for next year," Ritter told reporters waiting at the district's Administration Building. "We spent some time talking about the role of the interim superintendent," he said.

The interim is likely to lead the district through the 2008-2009 school year.

News cameras focused on him, Ritter declined to say more.

Chase announced on Aug. 5 that she will retire from the district, effective Aug. 31. However, using up personal days, she is more or less gone, board President Michelle Gadbois said last week.

"We had a short list and the list became even shorter," Gadbois said after the meeting. "We're down to one."


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