Paul Harper Portrait

“You need to bring in people from all levels to make sure that it works,” Columbia School Board candidate Paul Harper says. “That means teachers, that means parents, that means administrators, that means principals — you need to get them in the room.”

Growing up, Paul Harper and his family took occasional road trips to his grandma’s farm. For Harper, a highlight was stopping at his Great-Aunt Florence Vehmann’s apartment in Lebanon, Missouri. He and his cousins gathered around as Vehmann told stories about her job as a teacher and later a principal at the local elementary school.

The stories had a great influence on Harper, who along with several of his cousins went on to teach.

  • K-12 Education reporter, spring 2023 Studying journalism Reach me at

  • Elizabeth Brixey is the Columbia Missourian's education editor and an associate professor in the Missouri School of Journalism. She can be reached at (573) 882-2632 and

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