The Columbia Public Schools Foundation (CPSF) named its 2019 Hall of Leaders. The 2019 class will be honored at CPSF’s annual fall event, to be held Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 5:30 p.m. at the Kimball Ballroom at Stephens College. The event, with an “Under the CPSF” theme, will include a reception, program and desserts.
“The Columbia Public Schools Foundation is pleased to honor this year’s Hall of Leaders,” said Cindy Mustard, president of the CPSF Board of Directors. “We celebrate those who have made outstanding contributions to the District, whether as alumni, educators, or as volunteers giving of their time and talents.”
Honorees include Outstanding Alumni: Sally Cooper Myers, Marcella Ng, Stephanie Price and Donna Claycomb Sokol; Outstanding Retired Educators: Jack Jensen, Owen Jackson, Pat Jackson, Julia Marsh and Marilyn Skipper; and Outstanding Volunteers: Lisa Fritsche and Jan Mees.
Sally Cooper Myers
Sally Cooper Myers attended Grant Elementary, West Boulevard Elementary, Jefferson Junior High and Hickman High School. Sally served as a Miami University faculty member and administrator for 30 years, as director of the Recreational Sports Facility and Office of Recreational Sports program. During her tenure, she served as the senior instructor in the Department of Physical Education for Women and coached the Gymnastics Club. She retired in 1997 with emeritus status.
Lt. Col. Marcella Ng
Marcella Ng is a graduate of Jefferson Junior High and Hickman High School. She is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army and was the nation’s first African-American woman airplane and helicopter pilot in the U.S. Armed Forces in 1979, at the age of 23. Her first assignment was in Stuttgart, Germany, where she was the first woman and the first African-American woman assigned to the unit. She was the 55th woman to receive aviator’s wings in Ft. Rucker, AL, out of 48,000 total officer graduates through 1979 from the Army Aviator School.
Stephanie Price is a graduate of Fairview Elementary, Smithton, West Junior and Hickman High School. She is a board-certified child psychiatrist in Charleston, SC, where she works as an attending physician at the Medical University of South Carolina. She also works in private practice to treat those experiencing personal anguish.
Donna Claycomb Sokol
Donna Claycomb Sokol is a graduate of Rock Bridge High School. Donna is the pastor of Mount Vernon Pace United Methodist Church in downtown Washington, DC. Since her appointment to the congregation in July 2005, the congregation has transitioned to a growing one composed of many young adults working to make a difference in the nation’s capital. She previously served as minister of congregational care at First United Methodist Church in Hendersonville, NC, and as director of admissions at Duke Divinity School. Prior to joining the ministry, she spent three years on Capitol Hill, serving on the staffs of U.S. Congressman Eric Fingerhut and U.S. Senator Tom Harkin.
OUTSTANDING RETIRED EDUCATORS
Jack Jensen’s 33-year tenure with the Columbia Public Schools began as a teacher at West Boulevard and then Russell Elementary. He later served as assistant principal at the then-new Mill Creek Elementary and at Smithton Middle School before becoming principal at Two Mile Prairie Elementary and Smithton. Jack was the assistant superintendent of elementary education for CPS for seven years.
Julia Marsh taught in Columbia Public Schools for more than 26 years, with a special interest in mathematics. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she taught remedial and enrichment summer programs, led numerous math workshops for teachers, wrote and evaluated curriculum materials in a variety of subjects, and wrote assessment materials in elementary mathematics for the Missouri Department of Education. She also taught mathematics for the elementary classroom teacher at the University of Missouri.
Owen Jackson served as the assistant superintendent for elementary education for the Columbia Public Schools from 1979-1990. He has also been an assistant principal and principal, both in Columbia and elsewhere in Missouri. Owen also served as the assistant superintendent of elementary education for the Northwest R-1 district, and as an adjunct professor of education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Pat Jackson taught fifth grade at several locations around Missouri as well as at Fairview and Grant Elementary Schools. At Grant, she enjoyed teaching in the same room where she was a student some years earlier. She served on the Partners in Education committee at Grant, where she introduced a banking and trust program. Pat had the privilege of helping to open three new schools during her career, including Mill Creek Elementary, where she remained until her retirement.
Marilyn Skipper spent 27 years teaching at the Columbia Public Schools, including 20 years at Russell Elementary teaching second grade. She also taught third and fourth grades and assisted with student music and drama performances, including directing plays and musicals for all the classes in the grade levels. She also supervised many student teachers and aides throughout her teaching career.
Lisa Fritsche began volunteering for the Columbia Public Schools the day her oldest child entered kindergarten in 1990. She remained a tireless volunteer through the day her fourth child graduated in 2012, and today still volunteers weekly in a fifth-grade classroom at Paxton Keely Elementary. She has also volunteered at Fairview Elementary, Smithton Middle School, West Junior High School, and Hickman High School.
Jan Mees served the Columbia Public Schools as a library clerk for four years at Fairview Elementary and then as a library media specialist for 17 years, including as the media director at Hickman and as the specialist at Lange and multiple elementary schools. Following her retirement, she continued to serve the community and the schools. Jan was elected to the Columbia Public Schools Board of Education in 2007 and served four terms, including three years as president of the school board.
The Columbia Public Schools Foundation is a private foundation established in 1996 by community volunteers dedicated to the enrichment of public education through community giving. The Foundation has funded projects in every school, allocating more than $1.2 million to enhance education in the Columbia Public Schools. CPSF has supported teachers and students for more than 23 years.