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School board candidates increase to six

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 | 4:56 p.m. CST; updated 8:53 p.m. CST, Tuesday, January 13, 2009

COLUMBIA — Greg Flippin, a manager for Missouri Employers Mutual, said he is interested in serving on the Columbia School Board because he and his family enjoy staying active in the community.

“Columbia Public Schools is one of the best around,” said Flippin, who filed for the board on Monday. “And I want to do my part to make it stay that way.”

This brings the candidate pool for the April 7 election to six.

Flippin, 41, has lived in Columbia for 12 years and is the corporate facilities and fleet manager for Missouri Employers Mutual. His wife, Diana Flippin, serves as vice president of the Southwest Play School Board of Directors. The couple have three children: a daughter, 9, and a son, 6, both of whom attend Russell Boulevard Elementary School, and a 3-year-old daughter.

Prior to his current position, Flippin worked 18 years in facilities maintenance for MU, which included 13 years as a supervisor of the veterinary medicine facilities and five years as a facilities manager with Student and Auxiliary Services. He said his more than 20 years of experience in facilities maintenance is his greatest qualification.  

“With the future of buildings and renovations of Columbia Public Schools, that’s where my knowledge will come in handy,” Flippin said.

He did not cite any particular goals for the board but would like to get involved and help where needed. “I believe the district has some challenging years ahead, with budgets and things, and I want to help out if I can,” he said.

Flippin joins Jeannine Craig, Michelle Pruitt, Dan Holt, Adam Sorg and Bill Merideth in the race for two available seats.

Sorg, reached Tuesday, said he hopes to bring a new style of communication to the board. He believes there is “a lot of tension and a lot of negative thinking” currently.

“I’m always optimistic about what tomorrow might hold, and I hope to bring that to my campaign,” he said.

Sorg, 30, is a single parent, and his 5-year-old son attends Lee Elementary School.  “First and foremost, my responsibilities are to my son,” he said, "and that will relate to action by the school board.”

Sorg, who works as a cook at Longhorn Steakhouse in Columbia, said he understands what it means to struggle, and those experiences will guide him when making board decisions.

“The last thing I want children to do is go to school and feel the economic effects,” he said.  “It should be a safe haven.”

He received his bachelor’s degree in anthropology from MU in 2005 and has lived in Columbia since 2003.  Sorg said his involvement in previous leadership roles spurred his interest in running for school board. He was executive director of the 4-State Explorers in Joplin from 2000 to 2004, according to his Web site.

He said the board lacks fresh ideas, and he hopes to bring about change.

 “It’s important that we don’t reject any ideas,” Sorg said.  “The more information we can draw, the better we can be.”

Applicants have until 5 p.m. Tuesday 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 the Columbia district.


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