Hall of Leaders

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.

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.

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