Hall of Leaders

George Galbreath

George Galbreath is a Hickman High School graduate who currently serves as the art department chair at Westlake High School in Atlanta, Georgia. Throughout his 15 years of classroom teaching, including three years at Rock Bridge High School and 12 years with the Fulton County School District in Atlanta, he has maintained a career as a working artist. During his tenure as an art teacher at Rock Bridge High School, his passion for art allowed George to leave a lasting impact on many lives.

George received his bachelor of fine arts in graphic design from Howard University. He received a fellowship from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he completed his master’s of education in curriculum and instruction.

His work is regularly displayed in the Atlanta area, and he has received numerous awards for his creations. He was awarded Best in Show in 2015 and Honorable Mention in 2016 at the Georgia Art Educators Association exhibit. George also was a 2016 and 2018 Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series semi-finalist. He is the co-founder of Urban Art Expression (UAE) Youth Artists Program, a non-profit dedicated to developing artistically talented youth outside of the classroom and beyond the academic school calendar.

Dan Knight

Dan Knight is a graduate of Columbia Public Schools, having attended Fairview Elementary, Jefferson Junior and West Junior High Schools, and Hickman High School. Dan has served as the Boone County Prosecuting Attorney since 2007 and will begin serving his fourth term in 2019. In this role, he guides the prosecution of all criminal cases and has also personally prosecuted thousands of cases. He leads a staff of 41 employees, including 14 assistant prosecutors. Prior to his appointment as prosecuting attorney, Dan served as an assistant prosecuting attorney and as first assistant prosecuting attorney.

Dan received his undergraduate degree in business administration and his law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. At MU, he was also a varsity tennis player during his undergraduate years.

Dan was recognized in 2012 by the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys as the Prosecutor of the Year. He served as president of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys in 2014 and currently continues to serve on its board of directors. He is a member of the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri board of directors and has served on the boards of the Voluntary Action Center and the Central Missouri Humane Society.

Katie Mustard

Katie Mustard is a graduate of Hickman High School. Katie has joined the Netflix International Production Team as the head of physical production for feature films and television series from Europe, Middle East and Africa. She will be relocating to Amsterdam this fall with her husband and son. Katie’s passion for filmmaking can be seen with the many movies she has produced, including 38 movies, 20 short films, four feature length documentaries and dozens of commercials. She has produced multiple films for the Sundance International Film Festival, with her ninth film premiering there in 2014. Her first feature length documentary, American Shopper, was filmed in Columbia.

Katie attended film school at the University of Southern California, where she graduated with honors with a bachelor’s degree in cinema-television. She also is a graduate of the master’s in producing workshop in Tel Aviv, Israel, where she began collaborations with producers from around the world.

Katie is represented by the United Talent Agency. In 2015 she was named by the entertainment industry’s leading trade publication Variety as a Top 10 Producer of the Year and was honored as a cultural ambassador for U.S. embassies in third world countries as part of the American Film Showcase.

Susan Ford Robertson

Susan Ford Robertson is a graduate of Hickman High School. She practices law in Kansas City at The Robertson Law Group, LLC, where she serves as appellate counsel assisting trial counsel across the nation in all phases of all complex civil litigation. She has over 160 published federal and state appeals. Susan is an elected fellow in the American Academy of Appellate lawyers, and she is the first and only female attorney from Missouri so elected. She also is an elected fellow of Litigation Counsel of America and is the only Missouri attorney to be serving on the Super Lawyers Advisory Board of Directors.

Susan received a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a law degree, both from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She serves as vice chair of the Kansas City Streetcar Authority. Susan is also past president of the Missouri Board of Law Examiners, past president of the Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers, past chair of the Appellate Judicial Retention Committee and past member of the Missouri Supreme Court Advisory Committee.

Among her many honors, she is the recipient of the 2011 Women’s Justice Awards Litigation Practitioner of the Year, the Kansas City Legal Leader Civil Justice Award and the Missouri Bar President’s Award. For the past 10 years, she has consistently been named to the Top 100 Missouri Lawyers, Top 50 Kansas City Lawyers and the Top 50 Missouri and Kansas Women Lawyers by Super Lawyers.

Carol Almony

Carol Almony taught grades kindergarten to fourth in the Columbia Public Schools from 1984 until her retirement from teaching in 2007. After a distinguished career as a CPS teacher, Carol has volunteered her time and talents to benefit even more generations of Columbia’s students. As a volunteer, she has assisted kindergarten to fourth-grade students daily at Fairview Elementary from 2013 to the present, working with students on academic and literacy skills, helping at-risk students and providing enrichment and extension activities such as nonfiction research.

Carol spends an average of nine hours per week at Fairview during the school year. She also has mentored a child for the past two years. She helps with classroom parties, kindergarten field days and field trips, and also provides classroom supplies, books or snacks to classrooms as needed. Carol works with individual students, small groups and whole group activities with classrooms.

Among her honors, she received the Ray Lewis Outstanding Elementary Educator of the Year Award for grades PreK-3. She is a member of the Missouri Retired Teachers Association.

Linda Coutts

Linda Coutts began her teaching career as a third-grade teacher in St. Louis County in 1970. In 1978, after completing her degree in mathematics education, she was recruited to be the elementary mathematics supervisor for Columbia Public Schools, a position she served in for 32 years. Since retiring from CPS, Linda has taught elementary and early childhood mathematics methods at MU.

During her tenure at CPS, students and teachers thrived in an autonomous atmosphere. Linda not only served the learning needs of students, but also served the learning needs of teachers. She knew that to improve student achievement, teachers thinking and instructional strategies and methods had to change.  Professional development was a priority.

Linda earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a master’s degree in elementary mathematics from Webster University. Among her many other professional and community volunteer activities, she has served as president of the Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Darlene Huff

Darlene Huff began her career with Columbia Public Schools in 1980 as a school nurse, ultimately becoming the coordinator of the Health Services program in 1990 until her retirement in 2004.

As schools faced barriers to learning represented by poor student health, Darlene sought out new ways to improve children’s health and therefore their ability to learn through education and prevention strategies. Under her leadership, a Comprehensive School Health Policy and Procedure Manual was developed for CPS and was ultimately shared with other Missouri school districts. Darlene also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Missouri School of Nursing and worked with Dr. Robert Gaines to establish a spinal screening program that was implemented in school districts throughout the state.

Darlene established the Dr. Gene E. Huff Educational Scholarship program that annually provides a Career Advancement scholarship award and a Teaching Fellowship scholarship award to CPS educators and teaching fellows. She serves on the board of directors for the MU School of Nursing Alumni Board.

Carolyn Roof

Carolyn Roof has spent her professional career helping countless students and families as a counselor. She served as an elementary school counselor at Columbia Public Schools and the CPS elementary district school counseling coordinator until 2010. As counselor, she developed and implemented the use of many career education materials and organized career fairs and career days.

At Mill Creek Elementary, she was well-known for her active involvement in everything from Career Days to Doughnuts for Dads. She was a positive force and developed many fun activities children wanted to be a part of, whether spending time with Siggy the mascot or enjoying her puppets and hats for every occasion. She was an active member of the Mill Creek Elementary Partners in Education program and was honored for her work with a career education award.

Carolyn is an adjunct faculty member in the School Counseling department at Stephens College. She serves on the leadership board of the Mid-Missouri School Counselor Association and leads the School Counseling Curriculum Writing Project at the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Carolyn has a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in elementary guidance and counseling from Northwest Missouri State University. She also has self-published numerous children’s books.

Jim King (posthumous)

Dr. Jim King served as principal of Rock Bridge High School from 1993-1998 and as assistant principal there from 1978-1992. Dr. King passed away earlier this year.

As principal, Jim enlisted teachers to examine the possibility of various schedules to enhance learning. After much research and input from faculty, Jim created a schedule customized to meet the needs of RBHS and the block schedule was initiated. Today the block schedule remains in place at Rock Bridge and has been expanded to all three CPS high schools. He also was dedicated to the Global Village multicultural event at Rock Bridge, where students displayed their cultures in the commons with music, food and artifacts. After retiring, Jim would return to Rock Bridge each year to experience Global Village.

Following his retirement from CPS in 1998, Jim became the executive director of the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals. As he traveled to different districts, Jim continued to sing the praises of CPS, and when he returned home, he would remind everyone of “how good we have it” at CPS. Jim earned a bachelor’s degree in French and a bachelor’s degree in education from Central Missouri State College, and a master’s in education and a doctorate of education in secondary administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Jeff Harris

Jeff Harris is a Columbia Public Schools graduate who has served in all three branches of Missouri government. Jeff was appointed to the 13th Circuit Court in 2016 and elected later that same year. In his position as circuit judge, Jeff presides over civil and criminal cases. Prior to his appointment to the court, Jeff served as the policy director for Gov. Jay Nixon. Jeff also was a member of the Missouri House of Representatives, serving Columbia’s 23rd District, and served as both House Minority Leader and House Minority Whip. He was the first Boone Countian since the 19th century to lead either party in the Missouri House. He previously was a Missouri Assistant Attorney General and worked in private practice for the international law firm Bryan Cave.

Jeff is a graduate of Cornell Law School, where he was a member of the Cornell Law Review. Jeff received his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University, magna cum laude, where he also played on the varsity golf team. He also completed the Senior Executive Program at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Hickman High Super Kewp Award. Jeff is a graduate of Jefferson Junior High School and Hickman High School, where his first leadership role was as the sports editor for the Purple & Gold newspaper. He and his wife, Katie, also a CPS graduate, have two children enrolled at CPS.

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