New principals announced for Russell Boulevard and Rock Bridge elementary schools

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 | 5:37 p.m. CDT; updated 6:14 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 11, 2014

COLUMBIA — Two Columbia public schools will welcome new principals, pending Columbia School Board approval.

The district announced Wednesday that Jill Dunlap Brown will become the principal at Russell Boulevard Elementary School, and Ryan Link will take over at Rock Bridge Elementary School.

Dunlap Brown, who was the principal for two years at South Callaway R-2's Early Childhood Learning Center, said she's most looking forward to getting to know the families, teachers and kids of Russell Boulevard.

"My main goal right now is just to... get to know them, build relationships and learn about all the great things in the Russell community," she said.

Dunlap Brown, 37, was also an educational consultant for seven years, three as a reading specialist and project director for the Heart of Missouri Regional Professional Development Center. Earlier she was a Reading First coach in Prairie Home and a teacher and fellow in Jefferson City. She has a doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis from MU.

Incoming district superintendent Peter Stiepleman said in a news release that Dunlap Brown's experience makes her right for the job.

"Russell Boulevard Elementary School was in need of a seasoned building leader to step in and guide the school and Dr. Dunlap Brown has accepted the challenge,” he said.

Link, who served as Rock Bridge Elementary's assistant principal for the past five years, said the school has been a leader in the district in the Response to Intervention method, which identifies and supports students with learning and behavior needs. He hopes to see it continue to improve, specifically targeting the area of math in the program. 

"Everyone is getting instruction at the level they need," he said.

Link, 36, was previously a summer school principal at the school and a districtwide facilitator for positive behavior support, according to the release. Before that, he was a fifth-grade teacher at Fairview and Paxton Keeley elementary schools. He has a doctorate in education from St. Louis University.

Stiepleman said in the release that Link's established connections with the Rock Bridge Elementary community suited the position.

"Dr. Link has a wonderful relationship with families at Rock Bridge Elementary School and in combination with his leadership experience it was a win-win situation to place him in the leadership role for the school," he said.

In March, it was announced that Dunlap Brown would become the principal at Rock Bridge Elementary after Principal Mary Korth Lloyd announced her retirement, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune. Last Friday, a Missourian article reported Russell Boulevard Principal Ed Schumacher, if approved, would leave to become principal at Smithton Middle School. Because of Schumacher's move, Dunlap Brown will replace Schumacher at Russel Boulevard and Link will take the Rock Bridge Elementary position instead.

Supervising editor is Edward Hart.

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