Hall of Leaders

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.

She earned her undergraduate degree from William Woods University, a master of divinity from Duke University and her doctor of ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary.

Donna is the co-author of “A New Day in the City.” She serves as a member of the Duke Divinity School Board of Visitors and regularly speaks about leading change and congregational renewal.

Stephanie Price

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.

She played varsity tennis at Hickman and was the first player to medal in each of her four years at the state tournament. She is a cum laude graduate of the University of Massachusetts, where she received a tennis scholarship and played #1 singles and #1 doubles for the team. She holds a doctor of osteopathic degree from the Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine, and completed psychiatry residency training at Indiana University and a fellowship at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Stephanie is the recipient of many honors and accolades, and is dedicated to community involvement, including international service learning through medical mission trips.

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.

She is a cum laude graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, with a bachelor of science degree in physical education, and a graduate of the University of Southern California, with a master’s of science degree in education.

Sally is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Outstanding Miami Woman Faculty Member for outstanding undergraduate teaching, the Regional Award of Merit from the Intramural Sports Association, and the Outstanding Student Affairs Service Award.

Lt. Colonel 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.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was a member of ROTC and served on the drill team.

Marcella and her husband, retired Col. Dennis Ng, own and operate Mililani Woods LLC, a special events and wedding venue. Her likeness can be found on a mural permanently displayed at Lambert St. Louis International Airport, Black Americans in Flight: A Tribute to African American Achievements in Aviation from 1917 to the Present.

Karen Rawlings

Karen Rawlings has been an active volunteer with the Columbia Public Schools since 1975. She has volunteered in the library, health room, at field days, book fairs, science fairs, and as PTA president, as well as PTSA president at Hickman High School. She chaired the Hickman Music Boosters organization, which raised more than $40,000 to send the school chamber choir to Vienna, Austria. She was the first non-student to receive the Super Kewp Award.

When the Volunteers in Columbia Schools and the Partners in Education program were being established, Karen worked closely with Jolene Schulz at CPS to bring these two opportunities in volunteerism to fruition. Karen remembers spending time in nearly every school in the district, training teachers, parents and community volunteers in the merits of these programs. She was recognized by the National Association of Volunteers in 1991 for these contributions.

In addition to her numerous community involvement with other organizations, Karen volunteers at the Early Childhood Learning Center through the Partners in Education program. Karen and her husband, Dave, are founding members of the Columbia Public Schools Foundation, and Karen is also a past CPSF board member.

Traci Rogers

Traci Rogers moved to Columbia from Atlanta, Georgia, and has been an active volunteer and PTA officer at three schools. Traci is an IBM project manager and mother of two CPS students. She has logged more than 1,250 volunteer hours through the IBM Volunteer program, which issues grants for organizations each year. By logging over 100 hours annually, Traci has received four $2,000 grants for Paxton Keely Elementary and Jefferson Middle School.

Traci also has served as PTA president for the past four years at Paxton and Jefferson and led several committees for each school. She volunteers additional hours on the weekends to support all-day events such as the Robotics Regional Tournament. Traci also joined a CPS boundary committee to balance middle school populations.

Traci was nominated for an Outstanding Volunteer in Education by the Columbia Daily Tribune’s Hero Awards. She also was a 2017 IBM Volunteer Finalist and one of 36 nominees chosen globally.

Dave Carlson

Dave Carlson began his teaching career at Jefferson Junior High School in 1964. He served as athletic director for most of his tenure at Jeff Junior, and also taught physical education and health. He is perhaps most remembered as the coach of football, basketball, and track for 7th, 8thand 9th-grade boys and girls. In addition, he coordinated the intramural program that grew to include 80 percent of the students.

Dave has served in numerous capacities on the local and state levels as an athletic official for basketball, football, cross country, and track. He also worked the state high school track and field championships for more than 40 years, a record that will likely never be matched. Dave started track meets for more than 40 years and packs his pistol with him – but it only shoots blanks!

Dave earned a degree in social studies from Tarkio College and a master’s degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award for track from the Missouri State High School Activities Association.

Curt Fuchs

Curt Fuchs spent 31 years with the Columbia Public Schools. He began his career with CPS in 1977 as the audiovisual librarian at Hickman High School. Following that position, he became director of media services and then the director for instructional and information tech services for the district. Curt recently retired from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, where for 10 years he served as the coordinator of educational support services.

Curt established the library/media program in all CPS schools, providing resources to literally thousands of students and teachers. He also led the evolution of school libraries from warehouses of books to centers of technology and innovation. Curt still remembers promoting the idea of the Internet with the board office in 1991 and how it would affect the future of education.

Curt holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education, a master’s degree in library science and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction, all from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He served as the president of the Missouri Association of School Librarians and is a recipient of their Special Services Award. Among his honors, he is the only CPS employee to receive both the Ray Lewis Outstanding Administrator Award and the Outstanding Senior High Educator Award.

Joyce Hulett

Joyce Hulett began her career with Columbia Public Schools at Rock Bridge Elementary School, where she taught second grade for 11 years. Following this, she served as CPS language arts consultant for 17 years. She chaired a committee to write language arts objectives for elementary schools, which became the framework for reporting to families on how a student was progressing in reading, writing, and spelling. Literacy for all children was her priority. She also headed a committee for the first outdoor classroom at Rock Bridge Elementary and started the outdoor classroom at Two Mile Prairie Elementary.

Joyce taught early childhood education courses at MU, and also taught at Columbia College, Fort Hays State University, Northwest Missouri State University, and William Woods University. She also taught online courses for MU Direct. In her spare time, she has authored books, articles, and curriculum on education. She also wrote an educational column for the Columbia Daily Tribune for eight years.

Joyce earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and home economics, a master’s of education degree in curriculum and instruction and a doctorate in reading education and child and family development, all from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is the recipient of a Tribune Hero Award in recognition of her extensive volunteer work throughout the community.

Kathy Ritter

Kathy Ritter served as principal of Rock Bridge High School from 2007-2010 and assistant principal and director of student activities at Rock Bridge from 1992-2007. She previously served as a mathematics teacher at Rock Bridge, Hickman High School and Jefferson Junior High School. After retirement, Kathy continued to work with educators as a consultant with the Heart of Missouri Regional Professional Development Center (now the Hook Center), helping secondary schools in their efforts to become more effective professional learning communities. She also coached new principals and assistant principals in Columbia Public Schools.

While at Rock Bridge, Kathy encouraged the creation of a wide range of clubs to appeal to every student. She initiated the Global Village, the Bruin Pride Award, the Salute to Seniors Awards recognition, and the Rock Bridge Reaches Out program, among many others. She ensured that Rock Bridge remained student-centered in all aspects.

Kathy received her bachelor’s of science degree in mathematics education and her master’s of education degree in secondary education administration, both from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She was honored by the Missouri Community Colleges Association as the Distinguished Alumnus and by CPS as the Outstanding Administrator.

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