Cone's bio is on his website and was printed out along with bios from the other three candidates for the Columbia Missouri National Education Association school board candidates forum Thursday evening.
I was born in Tustin, California. My family moved nine times, and I attended six different public schools in six different states – military brat. Fortunately, I spent all four years at Tustin High School, home of the mighty Tustin Tillers! I graduated in 1980 and chose to be a resident of Missouri where I had a grandmother living at the time. I spent one year as a full-time student at the University of Missouri and then went to work. I am proud of completing my General Studies degree in the evening program at Columbia College in 1987. I graduated debt-free and paid for my education.
When I graduated, I had a desire to do good in some significant way. I was accepted as a Journeyman Missionary with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. I served two years in Botswana, Africa, working for the government-owned Radio Botswana. As a bit of interesting trivia, I spent an entire day with Pope John Paul II when he visited Gaborone, the capital of Botswana. Several years later, I returned to Africa for 14 months as a volunteer to the Baptist International Missions Service in Johannesburg, South Africa. This was just at the end of Apartheid and quite a unique time. My favorite experiences were spent working in the townships at work-training centers.
I have worked in catering, food service, lawn care, retail, retail management, newspaper composing, construction, historic home renovation, professional photography, television advertising and network television promotions. My most important and fulfilling job was as a stay-at-home Dad. Currently, it is easiest to say I am self-employed as a freelance videographer. However, what I really do is help clients focus their media identity. I help people create long-format educational DVDs, live satellite feeds, web-based programming and television commercials. I also work on distance learning programs and corporate training materials. I am a contractor for video, audio, lighting, editing, webcast and satellite production.
In 1997, I married Jennifer Black (Parkade, Jeff Jr., Hickman ’80). Columbia Public Schools prepared her well, and she teaches Language Arts at Rock Bridge High School. I was a full-time stay-at-home Dad when our children were born. I am now slowly building my freelance work back up as the kids are less and less dependent on me. Our daughter, Gretchen, (12) is in 7th grade at Smithton Middle School. Our son, Miles, (10) is in 5th grade at Russell Boulevard Elementary School. We are members of Parkade Baptist Church.
For Columbia Public Schools, I have served on the Redistricting Committee and the Intermediate Curriculum Committee. I am a volunteer in the classroom. I help with reading, art awareness, field trips and fundraising in my children’s classrooms as well as many other classrooms. I like working in wood, and I collect pennants. I enjoyed training with the Columbia Police Department’s Citizens’ Police Academy. So far I am a life-long learner and have taken classes at the University and enjoyed some Adult-Ed classes at the Career Center. We can all agree Columbia is a great community. I want to do my part to contribute and serve my community.