Hall of Leaders - 2009

Amy and Rob Myers

It’s unusual to have a husband and wife both nominated the same year, but wonderful that both parents are so totally immersed in volunteering for our schools and that this commitment was certainly beneficial to Columbia.

Amy has, among her many volunteer activities, been chairman of book fairs. She is responsible for putting books in the hands of nearly 800 students so all children could participate.

Rob worked tirelessly to complete plans for an outdoor classroom and plant over 100 trees, plants and samples of native vegetation. He always involved the children in the process.

They both say that ”education is the foundation of success in our society and the Columbia Public Schools provide the cornerstone of learning for our children. We are so grateful for the efforts of CPS teachers, administration, and other volunteers in fostering an excellent system of public education, and we also are grateful for having the opportunity to be a small part of that.”

Kate Harry

Kate said, “while I intended my volunteer service at the schools to benefit the students and teachers, I have been rewarded with lasting friendships with other parent volunteers, an awareness of how much our CPS personnel care about their students and an appreciation of community support for our public school system.”

A friend said, “Kate has been devoted to making the schools in this district better for all students. She has been actively and consistently involved for over 20 years.”

Cheri Ghan

Cheri “has gone above and beyond what would be expected of a parent…the volunteer of all volunteers,” her nomination letter said.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to have seen first-hand the incredible commitment of our teachers, administrators and other staff who have dedicated their professional lives to educating our students,” said Cheri, “What a privilege it has been to work with others for a common purpose, to make a difference in the lives of children.”

Denise Boyd

Denise started volunteering with Columbia Public Schools shortly after moving to Columbia with her young daughter.

She loved being involved while sharing school experiences with her daughter and her friends; plus she made some good friends along the way. She feels it’s rewarding to feel like you’ve made a difference in some small way.

A friend said, “when Denise undertakes any project it is guaranteed that the community will find a large piece of her personality in the outcome.”

Bragg Stanley

Bragg’s enthusiasm and commitment to students could be felt in every effort he led for students. He loved his job and his love was infectious.

Bragg says “I have always considered it a privilege to have been given the opportunity to serve in the Columbia Public Schools, and I think I took away from the district more than I possibly could have given. CPS gave me the opportunity to work with a wide range of students and their parents, with a dynamic, committed, and caring faculty and staff, as well as with incredibly supportive administrators.”

Tony Sloan

Tony says “upon arrival at Jefferson Junior High in 1972 as a coach and teacher, I was most fortunate to have as fellow teachers: Roy Willard, Bob Burton, Robert Nolke, Nyle Klinginsmith, Kathy Ritter, and Bob Duncan all who later moved on to be principals. John Stolt and Gene Huff were the administrators at Jeff in 1972. When I moved on to the administration ranks in 1986, I worked with Russ Thompson, Hank Fisher, Jim Ritter, and Skip Deming. With this group as colleagues, my job was a rewarding experience.”

The excellence of CPS can be traced to individuals such as Tony Sloan, whose contributions from the classroom to the athletic fields, to the construction of new schools have been significant.

Rebecca Litherland

Becky is honored to work with students and teachers as they developed along their path to excellence. She was encouraged to learn and supported in her efforts to make a difference. Columbia Public Schools represent a standard of excellence that provided her with inspiration and a sense of pride.

A friend said “through her leadership, science curriculum and instruction across all grade levels became more standardized and effective…She made us better teachers” which in turn impacted thousands of students.

Phil Driskill

Phil says “the influence of many master teachers directed me into the profession of education and motivated my return to the school system that had prepared me so well. The success that I have enjoyed is due in no small part to those professionals and the efforts of the many students and parents whom I had the pleasure of working with for the 30 years that I taught in Columbia Public Schools.”

In his nomination letter, it was said that “few teachers could work with students from all points of the learning spectrum as well as Phil.”

Jerri Deming

Jerri is passionate about early childhood education and laid the groundwork for the effective Parents as Teachers program we enjoy today.

She says that “CPS is a top-notch school district that attracts dedicated, professional and caring educators. It provided me with numerous opportunities, as well as continuous learning experiences. My greatest opportunity came with the implementation of the Parents as Teachers Program. As the first coordinator of this program, I needed to solicit support from community leaders, spread the word to fellow teachers and administrators, and recruit hundreds of parents to enroll. It was actually easier than I expected due to a community that values education and is open to new ideas.”

Mark Zwonitzer

Mark is an accomplished and prolific writer, director and producer of PBS programming…illustrating what he learned here.

He says “what I absorbed and managed to retain owes to the quality of teachers I had in Columbia. The best teachers shared much more than mere information. They transmitted their own personal passion for their subjects, and they modeled constancy. They showed up to teach every day. From those educators I learned the one big lesson that has guided my own life and career: there is flat-out joy in learning. And that is a gift that abides. Today, when our family dinner-table conversations commence, my son and daughter are not the only ones who have to share. I have to tell them what was the most interesting thing I’d learned that day too. If I come up empty, I know, I haven’t properly honored the legacy of the Columbia Public Schools.”

© 2019 Columbia Public Schools Foundation