Columbia Board of Education looks to fill vacancy following Paul Cushing's resignation

Friday, October 12, 2012 | 7:50 p.m. CDT; updated 9:23 a.m. CST, Wednesday, December 12, 2012

*CORRECTION: Darin Preis served on the Columbia School Board from 2005 to 2008. An earlier version of this article listed incorrect years for his service.

COLUMBIA — Paul Cushing's resignation from the Columbia Board of Education has left an open position that needs to be filled.

There are currently eight applicants hoping to fill the position, all of whom have strong ties to the Columbia community.

Applicants include: Donna Buchert, Rex Cone, William Kinney, Brianna Lennon, Tim Parshall, Darin Preis, Vickie Rorvig and Bill Tackett. Of the eight applicants, Cone has run for election before and Preis has served a term as the board's vice president.

The following information comes from their applications.

Donna Buchert:

  • Age: 60
  • All four of Buchert's children are graduates of Columbia Public Schools.
  • During the years her children were in school, Buchert was a stay-at-home mom and she volunteered at each school they attended.
  • "I have a passion for education, teachers and youth," Buchert said.
  • Full Application

Rex Cone:

  • Age: 50
  • Cone's daughter is in eighth grade at West Junior High School and his son is in sixth grade at Smithton Middle School.
  • Cone recently ran for the same position that was filled by Cushing earlier this year.
  • In his application, Cone said he understands the need for transparency in the discussion and decision-making process.
  • "I believe I would be a good Board member who serves as the eyes, ears and mouth for the community," Cone said.
  • Full Application

William Kinney:

  • Age: 46
  • Kinney's son is a Rock Bridge High School graduate and his daughter is currently enrolled at Jefferson Junior High School.
  • Kinney has lived in central Missouri for 15 years, 12 of which he has spent in Columbia.
  • Kinney has been a professor at MU's School of Medicine for eight years. He is also a small business owner and a former medical director of the operating room at MU Health Care.
  • Kinney credits Columbia with helping his family to grow and thrive. He said he wants to give back.
  • "I have come to believe that our town is one of the finest cities in which to raise a family," Kinney said.
  • Full Application

Brianna Lennon:

  • Age: 26 
  • Lennon does not have any children.
  • Lennon worked with the Missouri School Board Association for two years. She studied school board training and education policies at the undergraduate and graduate levels at MU and Truman State University.
  • Lennon also worked at Preferred Family Healthcare, a juvenile drug rehabilitation facility, and the National Council on Teacher Quality. As a volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters, she visited weekly with a student at West Boulevard Elementary. 
  • Lennon thinks she will bring a new perspective to the board because she has no preconceived notions about Columbia Public Schools or its administration. 
  • Full Application

Tim Parshall:

  • Age: 60
  • Both of Parshall's children went through Columbia elementary, middle and junior high schools and graduated from Hickman High School.
  • He is the director of MU's Fellowship Office and on Mizzou Hillel's board of directors.
  • Parshall said he wants to make an impact on the students of Columbia.
  • "I want to be part of the team of volunteer board members ... that inspires all of Columbia's students," Parshall said.
  • Full Application

*Darin Preis:

  • Age: 41

  • Preis has a fifth grader attending Mill Creek Elementary School.

  • He served on the school board for one term, from 2005 to 2008.
  • Preis has been volunteering for Columbia Public Schools since 2005. Since then, he has co-chaired the boundary planning committee and worked on the most recent tax levy campaign.
  • One of the strengths Preissaid he will bring to the board is experience.
  • "I have nearly two decades of experience working on early childhood, education, poverty and health issues," Pries said.
  • Full Application

Vickie Rorvig:

  • Age: 56
  • Both of Rorvig's daughters attended elementary, middle and junior high schools in Columbia and graduated from Hickman High School.
  • Rorvig is a recent retiree after 21 years of teaching elementary students.
  • Along with her teaching experience, Rorvig has a master's degree in math curriculum and instruction from MU.
  • Through the years, Rorvig said she has witnessed numerous changes in schools and the community. She thinks this experience will help her serve the board.
  • Full Application

Bill Tackett:

  • Tackett has a daughter at Jefferson Junior High School.
  • He served on the Missouri Child Fatality Review Program, Jefferson City Rape and Abuse Crisis Service, Eagle Scouts Association and Special Olympics boards. 
  • Tackett's profession as an assistant professor of criminal justice at Lincoln University in Jefferson City has given him education experience.
  • Prior to teaching, Tackett was an assistant prosecuting attorney, which he said taught him how to make difficult decisions based on what is in the best interest of the community. 
  • Full Application

The board's president is Tom Rose and its vice president is Christine King. The appointment of the board member will take place during the regular meeting on Nov. 12.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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