A Netflix film producer, a prosecuting attorney, an IBM project manager and a freelance artist were among the 10 Columbia Public Schools alumni, retired educators and volunteers inducted into the 2018 Hall of Leaders on Tuesday.
The group was celebrated by the Columbia Public Schools Foundation for contributions to the school district. This year’s annual fall event had a “CPSF Rocks!” theme and was held in the Kimball Ballroom at Stephens College.
The event was a fundraiser for the private, nonprofit foundation, which works to enrich the district through financial contributions from the community.
Awards were divided into outstanding alumni, outstanding retired educators and outstanding volunteers. The honorees include:
George Galbreath graduated from Hickman High School and is Westlake High School’s art department chair in Atlanta. He was featured in Vox Magazine’s “30 Under 30” feature in 2008. He has been a teacher for 15 years, three of which were at Rock Bridge High School. He is a freelance artist who founded the African American Art Experience program in Columbia and co-founded Urban Art Expression in Atlanta.
Dan Knight attended Fairview Elementary School, Jefferson and West junior high schools and Hickman High School. After graduating from the MU School of Law in 1989, he became the assistant prosecuting attorney then the first assistant prosecuting attorney and since 2007 has served as the Boone County prosecuting attorney. Knight has prosecuted thousands of criminal cases, ranging from traffic offenses to first-degree murder.
Katie Mustard graduated from Hickman and is a prolific film producer. She is credited with Netflix feature films “Hold the Dark,” “The Angel” and “Motherhood.” She has overseen production of 39 movies, 20 short films, three feature-length documentaries and dozens of commercials. Some of her films premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2014, she was featured as one of Variety’s “10 Producers to Watch.”
Susan Ford Robertson graduated from Hickman and serves as an appellate counsel for Kansas City’s Robertson Law Group. She handles complex civil cases and appeals in state and federal courts. She has over 160 published federal and state appeals. She is the only female attorney from Missouri to be elected into the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and is the only attorney from Missouri serving on the Super Lawyers Advisory Board of Directors.
Outstanding retired educators
Dave Carlson coached at Jefferson Junior High from 1963 to 1998. He was the athletic director for most of this time and taught physical education and health. He coached football, basketball and track for seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders. He was a race starter for mid-Missouri track and field meets, and he contributed to the intramural program, which included 80 percent of his students.
Curt Fuchs began his 31-year career in Columbia Public Schools in 1977 as the audiovisual librarian at Hickman. He later became the district’s director of media services then was director for instructional and information tech services. Until his retirement in 2016, he coordinated the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s educational support services.
Joyce Hulett taught second grade for 11 years at Rock Bridge Elementary School. She served as a district language arts consultant for 17 years and chaired a committee to create objectives in elementary school language arts. Literacy for all children was her priority. In 2018, she published the book “Beginning a Lifelong Love of Literacy,” which helps parents, professors and graduate students guide children toward a love of reading.
Kathy Ritter was Rock Bridge High’s assistant principal and director of student activities from 1992 to 2007 and principal from 2007 to 2010. She was a math teacher at Jefferson Junior High and Hickman and Rock Bridge high schools. After retirement, she taught secondary school educators how to professionalize learning communities through the Missouri Regional Professional Development Center.
Karen Rawlings has volunteered in district libraries, health rooms, field days, book fairs and science fairs since 1975. She held leadership positions as Hickman’s Parent Teacher Student Association president and former chairwoman of the Hickman Music Boosters organization, where she helped raise more than $40,000 to send the high school’s chamber choir to Vienna, Austria. She was the first non-Hickman student to receive the Super Kewp award, which honors accomplishments within the school’s community. She is listed as a founder of the Columbia Public Schools Foundation because she contributed money toward its creation.
Traci Rogers has logged more than 1,250 volunteer hours through the IBM volunteer program, which has donated four $2,000 grants to Paxton Keeley Elementary School and Jefferson Middle School. Grants like this are helping Jefferson become Columbia’s first STEAM middle school. She is a project manager for IBM, a mother of two students in the district and a Parent Teacher Association officer.
The foundation established the Hall of Leaders in 1999, and winners can be nominated online. Requirements include a cover letter, short résumé including the honoree’s qualifications and achievements and two supporting letters of recommendation.