2012 Columbia Public School Board Candidates: Melvin Blase

Thursday, March 1, 2012 | 4:02 p.m. CST; updated 12:55 p.m. CDT, Friday, March 16, 2012

This is part of the Missourian's school board election coverage; for complete coverage, click here.

Melvin Blase

Age: 77.

Years in Columbia: About 40.

Occupation: Currently retired, but was a former professor, researcher, author and adviser to developing countries.

Education: Bachelor's degree and master's degree in agricultural economics from MU, doctoral degree from the economics department at Iowa State University with a major in agricultural economics.

Personal ties to the district: Three children graduated from Hickman High School.

Community involvement: Member of Golden K Kiwanis Club, and of the Agricultural Economics Emeritus Professor organization.

Political experience: No prior political experience.

Reason for running: Blase said a high school teacher made all the difference in his life and that this helped him to see how important teachers are. He also said that based on feedback he has received, he can contribute a great deal of common sense as a potential school board member.

Most important thing to contribute: Blase said he has four ideas he wants to contribute if elected to the board. He wants to improve excellence in teaching, help find additional resources as the district looks for ways to fund its programs, develop programs to help people fill care-giving roles and help people understand the unique problems of developing schools on the rural-urban fringe. He said he is accustomed to thinking outside the box.

Blase also worked with about 30 developing countries in an advising capacity. His past service on boards includes: the Jefferson Institute, Missouri School of Religion, a number of university consortia.

No. 1 challenge facing the district: Blase said he sees two issues as most prominent. The first is a focus on excellence in teaching, which he described as "where the rubber hits the road." The other issue he wanted to focus on was looking at the cost of financing the public education system in a service-based economy.

Something interesting: His ancestry goes back 150 years in Missouri and in St. Charles County, and there's a road named for his grandfather.

Contact information:, website, 881-8093

Read more about Blase in his own words

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