Tom Rose, a veterinarian, will become the newest member of the Columbia Board of Education when he replaces Don Ludwig on June 11.
School board members on Thursday morning chose Rose from a field of nine applicants to replace Ludwig, who announced more than a month ago that he would resign because his wife, Sally Beth Lyon, had been appointed director of curriculum for Columbia Public Schools.
Neither Ludwig nor board member David Ballenger were present for the meeting.
Perhaps most notable among those not selected was Michael Tan, who has run for the school board twice. Tan, an associate professor of education at William Woods University, got more than 8,000 votes in the April 3 election.
Rose is the owner of the Rolling Hills Veterinary Hospital and a member of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, where he has chaired the education subcommittee. He has mentored children for years through the Stand By Me program at West Boulevard Elementary School and through Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
Rose has two daughters who are students at Rock Bridge High School and one who is a student at Jefferson Junior High School.
During his interview Thursday, Rose said one of the biggest challenges Columbia Public Schools face is financial security.
“I’m interested in seeking ways to afford to be able to do the right thing,” he said.
Before the meeting the board provided each candidate a list of the questions it would ask. After the interviews, board members chose three candidates for the final selection group. They were Rose; Rob Myers, an education specialist and founder of the Jefferson Institute; and Cande Iveson, director of Citizens for Missouri Children.
Tan was not a finalist and received only one vote from the five board members present. Tan said during his interview that he feels communication lines between the school board, parents, teachers and the community could be improved.
After he was selected, Rose said that one of the most important issues for Columbia schools is early childhood education. “It’s become evident through research that providing quality education to children between zero to 5 years of age can make a difference for how they perform at school when they are older,” he said.
The other candidates interviewed were Ines Segert, an MU psychology professor; Marsha Fisher, an employment lawyer; Rob Gaines, owner of a computer consulting company; Cheryl Washington Howard, director for Columbia’s Nora Stewart Memorial Nursery School; and Mary Ratchford Douglass, a lifelong Columbia resident who has children in public schools and who is pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis.
Board President Karla DeSpain said after the meeting that she was impressed by the number and quality of the applicants and invited them to run for the next seat and to stay involved with education board.