CPS Superintendent Peter Stiepleman speaks Tuesday during a community briefing

In this file photo, Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Peter Stiepleman speaks Aug. 11 during a community briefing. Stiepleman was named Missouri Superintendent of the Year this week.

Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Peter Stiepleman was chosen as the 2021 Missouri Superintendent of the Year by the Missouri Association of School Administrators, according to a Saturday news release.

Stiepleman was honored for his selection at a virtual fall conference held by the administrators association and the Missouri School Boards’ Association.

MASA Executive Director Doug Hayter said there is no doubt Stiepleman’s guidance has played a great role in successes of one of the state’s largest districts.

“Peter Stiepleman is not only an exemplary leader for the Columbia Public Schools, but he is also a leader and trusted voice for school superintendents in Missouri and beyond,” Hayter said in the news release. “During his tenure, his community and school district experienced change, student growth and other demographic and economic challenges.”

Stiepleman is going into his seventh year as superintendent and has worked in several other teaching and leadership positions during his tenure with the district. Issues involving poverty and equity in K-12 education have been front and center in Stiepleman’s work as superintendent, according to the release.

“Our nation’s children are depending on us to break cycles of generational poverty and public education is the key,” Stiepleman said in the release.

Although the district has a diverse student body, only 14% of staff identify as people of color, according to the release. That statistic prompted Stiepleman, his administrative team and the school board to develop and implement the CPS COMOEd Grow Our Own Teacher Development Program, which provides full-ride scholarships to at least six future teachers of color every year.

When Columbia Public Schools began its academic year Sept. 8, 18,413 students were enrolled, although official enrollment numbers were not yet available. The district encompasses the city of Columbia and the areas surrounding it.

The award comes as Stiepleman and his family mourn the loss of his aunt, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died at age 87 last week.

“She would do anything for her family,” Stiepleman said on Twitter last weekend. “Officiate your wedding, allow your 4 year old to climb the John Marshall statue at the Supreme Court. She was pretty terrific ... Thank you to this amazing community for lifting my family up this weekend.”

Stiepleman will be honored for his selection at the National Conference for the American Association of School Administrators in February, according to the release.

“It is an honor to be named the MASA Superintendent of the Year,” Stiepleman said. “It is a privilege to be the superintendent of the Columbia Public Schools.”

  • Tony Madden is a Fall 2020 education reporter for the Missourian. He is studying arts and culture magazine journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism. Reach him at tonymadden@mail.missouri.edu.

  • Galen Bacharier is an assistant city editor at the Missourian. He has reported on higher education, state government and breaking news. Reach him at galenbacharier@gmail.com or on Twitter @galenbacharier.

  • 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 brixeye@missouri.edu.

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