Columbia School Board selects Darin Preis to fill vacant seat

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | 9:55 p.m. CDT; updated 10:12 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 31, 2012

*CORRECTION: Darin Preis has a son in fifth grade. An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect gender.

COLUMBIA — The Columbia School Board selected Darin Preis on Tuesday to fill the seat vacated by Paul Cushing earlier this month.

Preis, executive director of Central Missouri Community Action and former vice president of the board, will be a board member until April 2013. If Preis elects to run for the seat and wins, he would serve the final two years of Cushing's term. If a new candidate wins, they will serve a full three-year term.

At the meeting, board members asked all eight applicants the same set of five questions, and board President Tom Rose asked each applicant another question that he drew out of a box.

During the first round of voting, each board member voted up to three times. Donna Buchert, Tim Parshall and Preis received the most votes and answered an additional question. 

For the final vote, Rose and board members Jan Mees, Christine King and Helen Wade voted for Preis. Board members James Whitt and Jonathan Sessions voted for Parshall.

Board members did not comment on their decisions.

In his interview with the board, Preis said he understands the pressure the board is under because he's served on the board.

"I've had friends corner me at parties and want to pick my brain about a certain thing or push a certain perspective," he said.

"I mentioned we have a very engaged community," Preis said. "But that doesn't necessarily mean that they understand pedagogy," or the method and practice of teaching.

He said it's a challenge to translate what the board is doing into meaningful language for parents.

Preis supports Proposition 1, which would levy an increase in sales tax for child mental health services.

He also said he wants to be a board member when the district discontinues use of trailers for classrooms. 

*Preis has a son in fifth grade at Mill Creek Elementary School.

Missourian reporter Ashley Crawford contributed to this report.

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