COLUMBIA — Bill Merideth joined the race for one of the two open seats on the Columbia School Board on Friday, bringing the total number of applicants to five.
Merideth, 29, and his wife, Jeralyn, moved to Columbia almost three years ago from Georgia. The couple has two children, Olivia, 8, and Jared, 12.
Merideth works as an information technology manager for Mid-City Lumber. He is currently looking to complete his computer science degree, having attended both the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the University of Memphis.
He says working with others is his greatest qualification. No specific goals are in sight, but Merideth says he has a strong interest in education for his, and the area's, children.
"I would like to see Columbia education keep going in a positive direction," he said.
Three others have filed for candidacy on the Columbia School Board in the past few days. Dan Holt and Adam Sorg submitted their applications for candidacy Wednesday; Jerry Taylor filed on Thursday.
Holt, 51, has two children in the district, a sophomore and a seventh-grader. His wife, Lisa, is the math department coordinator at Rock Bridge High School. He said he has long been interested in the school board, and now is the best time for him to run.
Holt grew up in Salisbury and earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from MU in 1989 and his master's in business administration from William Woods University in 1995. Holt is a educational finance consultant for his own company, DGH Consulting.
“Columbia Public Schools are still one of the premier educational opportunities in the country,” he said.
He is a proponent for improvement, and believes that best can always be improved upon. “Even when things are most excellent, ask how can you improve?” Holt said.
He has worked several years with Wall street analysts, developing plans for educational guidance and dealing with legislative and funding issues.
He stresses that education does not stop at college. “We need to have a mindset that learning is an ongoing experience,” he said.
Holt said that being a parent is his number one qualification for serving on the school board, coupled with his experience in educational finance.
Sorg has degrees in history, psychology and anthropology, according to his Web site. He was executive director of the 4-State Explorers in Joplin from 2000 to 2004. He has one child, whose age is not confirmed.
Taylor retired from the Air Force in Germany and has lived in Columbia for the past 13 years. He said he decided to run for the school board because he knew that not many people had filed. He withdrew his application Friday following family discussion.
Holt, Sorg and Merideth join Jeannine Craig and Michelle Pruitt on the slate of potential candidates to fill the two open positions. The election is April 7.
Applicants have until 5 p.m. Jan. 20 to file for candidacy at the office of the Board of Education secretary at 1818 W. Worley St. To be considered, candidates must be U.S. citizens at least 24 years old and residents of Missouri for at least a year, and they must pay taxes in Columbia.