Darin Preis grew up in a family of educators and remembers dinner discussions that revolved around the successes and challenges in the classroom. His upbringing inspired him to keep education a priority, which is one of the reasons he decided to run for the Columbia School Board.
Preis said the board could use his expertise to bring a new perspective to early childhood education and to further work to close the achievement gap. Preis said being the director of the Missouri Head Start, State Collaboration Office has prepared him to deal with important school board issues.
“Most of my work is focused on young children and programs around the state,” Preis said. “It is kind of nice to see that my own home community is working on that very issue, and I think I can bring that perspective and expertise to the board and really help them as they address the issue of early childhood.”
Cande Iveson, early learning policy analyst for Citizens for Missouri’s Children, has known Preis through work since he first came to Columbia. She said Preis is especially qualified for the school board because of his experience working with diverse groups and early childhood learning issues.
“I believe that Darin has a unique combination of professional and personal traits that make him extremely well-qualified to serve on the school board,” Iveson said. She described him as thoughtful, hard-working and energetic.
Preis said his job experience has prepared him for handling the gap between students who perform well and those who fall short of standards.
“A lot of the work I do is with families with low income, and I know that that can be a factor in the achievement gap,” Preis said. “I’m really anxious to work with the school board and Dr. (Phyllis) Chase and the district on affecting that gap.”
Preis said flexibility and support are necessary to effectively deal with standards set by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
“I know that teachers and administrators really want to do the best things for kids, and I’m sure that our federal education policy is the best way to get at that,” he said. “So I’m interested in just working with the board to support teachers and administrators.”
Nutrition in schools is another issue that interests Preis. He would like to see vending machines removed from high schools.
“We know that obesity has tripled in our country in the last 30 years, and I just don’t think that school districts should be part of the problem,” Preis said.
Overall, Preis said Columbia schools are excellent, and he wants to help keep them that way.
“I’m really proud of the school district in this community,” he said. “I’m proud that my son is going to go to school in Columbia. I’m just excited about the opportunity to serve the community in this way and maintain that level of standards that Dr. Chase and the school district has set.”