Hall of Leaders

Kerri Packard

Kerri Packard has been a dedicated supporter of Columbia Public Schools, where she served as a volunteer, PTA member, and music booster, among many other roles.

-Member of PTA and volunteer for various school events and committees at Benton, Fairview, Paxton Keeley and Smithton including Library Volunteer Coordinator, 5th Grade Party Committee, Nominating Committees, and Room Parent.

-Awarded Missouri PTA Volunteer Award in 2009

-Member of PTSA and President of VIBCOR (Vikings in Band, Choir and Orchestra) at West Junior High School

-Member of PTSA and volunteer for various school events at Hickman High School and Rock Bridge High School

-Member of the Hickman High School Music Boosters and held the following positions: President 2010-11, Vice President 2009-10, Uniform Committee Chair 2009-12, Teacher Appreciation Committee 2009-12, Choir Motivation Committee Chair 2011-12, Choir Fundraising Chair 2010-11

I had the greatest role models of this saying in my parents: A.W. and Judy Bradley. They volunteered in the community and in the schools. I witnessed firsthand the benefits that came to the school, staff, students and even to the volunteers. When my own children started school, there was no question that I would be involved. Little did I know how enriched my life would be through my work with CPS. I will always think fondly of the times I helped a child select a “just right” book in the library, brought in a meal for conference-weary teachers or handed out water to a thirsty marching band member. Great memories and friendships were made along the way. I wasn’t paid in money but in smiles! I am humbled to be recognized by the Columbia Public Schools Foundation and grateful for the opportunity to do something for our schools.”

– Kerri Packard

Harold Bossaller

Harold Bossaller’s love of farming came from his childhood in rural Missouri. He shared his passion for agriculture through his career teaching at Hickman High School and the Career Center, making a positive difference in the lives of many young students.

-Raised on a farm and attended grade school in Gilliam, Mo., with an 8th grade graduating class of nine students. Graduated from Slater High School in 1964 as a class of 60 students.

-Bachelor of science, College of Agriculture, University of Missouri-Columbia

-First teaching assignment in Thayer, Mo.

-Enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and trained as a communications specialist in the electronics program. Just before he was about to leave for his first assignment in Japan, he was released to go back to teaching as part of the government’s “separation for the convenience of the government” to relieve the teaching shortage. He then received a contract to teach in Kahoka, Mo.

-Interviewed with Dr. Russell Thompson for an agriculture teacher position and taught at Hickman High School, 1972-1979

-Taught at the Columbia Area Career Center from its opening in 1979 to 1988, then was assigned back to Hickman, where he retired in 1998

-Served as advisor for the Future Farmers of America student organization

-Taught graduate courses and wrote curriculum projects for the University of Missouri-Columbia

-Worked in the Assessor’s Office for Boone County as a certified Real Estate Appraiser for 13 years

Fate has seemed to guide me through my career. I have never regretted my career choice. I have made so many wonderful friends through the Columbia Public Schools system and in the community, and I feel so blessed. I have had a lot of great students and keep in touch with many. Thanks so much for this honor.”

– Harold Bossaller

Marilyn Parker

Marilyn Parker’s career with the Columbia Public Schools system went from being room mother at Russell Elementary to teaching food service management for more than two decades at Hickman High School and the Career Center, preparing students for careers in the food service industry.

-Bachelor’s degree in home economics education, Drury University, Springfield, Mo., 1958

-Taught in the Shawnee Mission District for five years

-Substitute taught at Russell Elementary for four years

-Taught Food Co-op and Food Service Management for 22 years at Hickman High School/Columbia Vocational School (Columbia Area Career Center), retiring in 1998. Worked with seniors who were attending classes in the morning and released from school in the afternoon to work in the food service industry. Many of these students were working because of necessity while others were aspiring to pursue a career in the food service industry.

-One of the highlights during those years was the establishment of a classroom restaurant called The Pantry, part of an entrepreneurial unit that involved organizing and managing a business. Students tested recipes, priced products, established menus, ordered inventory, and prepared and served food items to targeted customers. Students also were involved in limited catering events. During those years the classroom was the commercial kitchen. The Super Kewp Award Program was created in this program.

-Served on the Mid-Missouri Restaurant Association Board and the Central Missouri Food Bank Board

-Honors include CCTA Teacher of the Year nominee; Hickman High School Award of Excellence Teaching nominee; Mid-Missouri Restaurant Association Restaurateur of the Year Award

-Serves in the adult choir and as an elder at First Presbyterian Church; chair of OutReach; volunteer at the Wardrobe; member, the Assistance League of Mid-Missouri

There is no profession as important as teaching children and adults. We hear this, we know it to be true, but most teachers do not pursue teaching only because it is a noble profession, but because teaching is their passion. There is no life achievement greater than (hopefully) affecting or making a difference in the lives of students. I pray I have, for a small measure, because I gave it my all. Thank you Columbia Public Schools, Columbia Area Career Center and Hickman High School for giving me that opportunity.”

– Marilyn Parker

Vickie Robb

Vickie Robb began her teaching career as a special education teacher and soon moved into administration, serving as an elementary school principal for 25 years. She was selected as principal of West Boulevard Elementary School when it became the first Model School for Columbia Public Schools and worked with faculty, teachers and students to create a new vision and principles of learning for the school.

-Bachelor of science, elementary education, and learning disabilities, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield, Mo.

-Columbia Psychological Examiner’s Certificate

-Masters of arts in special education and learning disabilities specialist degree in educational leadership/administration

-Ray B. Lewis Award for Outstanding Administrator at the Elementary Level, Columbia Public Schools, 2008

-Chosen as the building principal of the first Model School in Columbia Public Schools at West Boulevard Elementary School, served there from 2004-2008

-University of Missouri-Columbia, College of Education, 2003 High Flyer Award in the Teacher Development Program

-Altrusa International of Columbia awarded the Celebration of Service Award for the Education Division, 2003

-Missouri Association of School Librarians School Administrator Library Service Award, 2000

-Recognized by Boone County Group Homes and Family Support in appreciation for services to persons with developmental disabilities, 1996

-Outstanding Administrator, South Central Association, Zone 8, 1990

-National Distinguished Principal for the state of Missouri from the Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Elementary School Principals, 1989

I was very fortunate to be mentored by many wonderful leaders and individuals who loved learning… I can only hope that I took a small piece from each of them to become who I strived to be during my leadership years. I had many leadership opportunities within the school systems in which I was employed and through my professional organization, Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals. I learned so much from each and every one of those opportunities. My final position with Columbia Public Schools was principal of West Boulevard Elementary, the Model School. One way to describe that work would be “continual action research.” I was extremely grateful to be entrusted with this final leadership position. I was able to hire all faculty and staff who held a similar vision and create with the teachers and parents a school that embodied the principles of learning for all and a results orientation. That was one of the finest staff with which I had the pleasure of working. The adults and students were constantly learning and figuring things out. I learned as much from the students and families of West Boulevard as I did from my staff. I can honestly say every experience there enriched my life. I had always wanted to be a teacher… never sought out to be a leader. The people who surrounded me saw my potential as a leader and continually guided me along the way. So, Columbia Public Schools Foundation, thank you for giving me the opportunity to publicly thank those people as you included me in the 2015 Hall of Leaders.”

– Vickie Robb

Linda Walker

Linda Walker served as an educator in the Columbia Public Schools for 25 years, including serving as the first librarian at West Junior High School. At Jefferson Junior High School, where she was the librarian and media specialist for 20 years, she increased student use of the library by 90 percent.

-Bachelor of science in education

-Master’s degree in library science, Southeast Missouri State University

-Missouri University Educator in Missouri for 30 years

-First Librarian at West Junior High School

-Librarian/Media Specialist at Jefferson Junior High School for 20 years, where she increased student use of the library by 90 percent; promoted activities in the library during student lunch periods by hosting chess tournaments and student music groups; and encouraged teachers to schedule use of the library during class time for research projects

-Sponsored and supervised: Student library staff and the Student Library Advisory Board

-Faculty responsibilities: Faculty Activities Committee Chair; Partners in Education Committee Chair; North Central Association Evaluation Committee Chair; served on NCA Evaluation visits

-Recognitions: Columbia Fund for Academic Excellence, 1980; Columbia Community Teachers Association Teacher of the Year; State President, Alpha Delta Kappa, 1993

The highlight of my 30 years in education was the 25-year love affair with the Columbia Public Schools and Jefferson Junior High School. I was so fortunate to work with a group of administrators and teachers who were not only my colleagues but also my friends. They were a most dedicated and talented group of professional educators. My selection to the Hall of Leaders is a reflection of their collaborative spirit and support. I cannot thank them enough. Junior high school students are unique. They require both TLC and TLC (Tender Loving Care and Tough Loving Care). I truly believe that we provided both at JJHS. Some of my most rewarding moments were when students would come in to my office, close the door and tell me something they felt they could not tell anyone else.”

– Linda Walker

Joy Underdown

Joy Underdown began her career in education on the West Coast, and then enjoyed a 17-year career in public education at Fairview Elementary, where she was teaching when President Reagan came to visit and honor the school.

-Began her education career in California, where she taught nursery school and kindergarten in small, private schools. Many of the students were the children of celebrities, and she met the Ronald Reagan family.

-After 16 years in L.A., she came to Columbia to pursue degrees from Stephens College and the University of Missouri-Columbia

-Taught third grade at Fairview Elementary for 17 years

-Taught at Fairview in 1987, when President Reagan came to Columbia to present the school with an Award of Excellence

I am grateful for the honor of being selected to the Hall of Leaders, and I thank you very much. The 17 years I spent at Fairview Elementary School afforded me some great, varied opportunities and experiences. I had the chance to attend national conferences focusing on my particular interest in elementary science, and I attended the annual Children’s Literature Festival in Warrensburg. It was wonderful to meet authors and illustrators of books with which the children were familiar. In 1982 we went through the process of North Central accreditation, and I learned a great deal as Chair of that experience! My Fairview colleagues were always helpful and eager to share new ideas. As retired teachers we meet once a month for breakfast, so we are able to stay in touch and support each other when needed. One of the favorite activities for the children – and me – was the “critter program” where small animals visited the classroom, and I encouraged the children to journal the event. We also had a wonderful custodian who loaned us a small incubator and several eggs. We loved watching the chicks hatch and grow and finally move on to a farm. Columbia Public Schools has provided me with many fond memories for which I am most grateful.”

– Joy Underdown


Shana Farr

Shana found her love of music and theater growing up in Columbia, where she participated in church and Columbia Public School choirs and later attended the University of Missouri-Columbia. Shana continued her education and performance career on the East Coast, and also began a second successful career in the jewelry design business.

-Attended West Boulevard and Fairview Elementary, West Junior High and Hickman High School

-Bachelor of music, magna cum laude, Pi Kappa Lambda, Boston University School for the Arts

-Gemological Institute of America, Diamond Certificate

-Performance appearances including: Feinstein’s at the Regency; New York City Center; Jazz at Lincoln Center; York Theatre; Symphony Space; 54 Below; Crazy Coqs (London); Pittsburg Civic Light Opera; Missouri Symphony Orchestra; South Shore Symphony Orchestra; Metropolitan Room; Laurie Beechman Theatre; Kranzberg Arts Center, St. Louis

-Debuted her album Out of the Shadows to a rave review in the Wall Street Journal

-Conducts Master Classes in Performance

-Recently on the Board of The American Songbook Project, a not-for-profit organization that takes Broadway and Cabaret performers into schools in the New York area.

-Founded Shana Farr Designs, New York, in 2009. Designed, developed and introduced a line of silver and genuine gemstone fashion jewelry into the direct-to-consumer market; completely recouped initial investment within the first year.

-Served as Director of Merchandise for The Aaron Group, New York, Vera Wang Project, and in various high-level capacities for Harry Winston Inc., New York.

Said of Shana Farr…

“Lots of students have a high level of talent and a love of the great standard songs of American music. What one does with that talent is a totally different thing. Shana MADE her career. And she not only MADE a singing career, she made a second artistic career as a jewelry designer whose work is sophisticated, beautiful and sells very well. What does it take to accomplish TWO major careers in New York City where the competition is so extraordinarily keen – and often cutthroat? It takes guts, talent and a foundation that is grounded in Midwestern pluck, confidence and VERY HARD WORK. The arts – and particularly the performing arts – are very difficult to break into. I think Shana’s deep belief in her talent kept her going through the years it took her to receive the recognition from the New York critics and the public she aspired to. How often do you hear critics talking about elegance, beauty, humor and clarity in describing contemporary pop singers? Yet those are the qualities that are remarked on time after time in reviews of her work.”

James M. Miller, Professor of Theater, University of Missouri

Mitchell Humphreys

Mitchell Humphreys is a physician and professor of urology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Az., who attended Columbia Public Schools and the University of Missouri-Columbia for his undergraduate and medical degrees. Among his many career successes and medical advances, Dr. Humphreys and his colleagues pioneered the first minimally invasive surgery for prostate cancer.

-Attended Grant Elementary and West Junior High

-United States Air Force Academy graduate, Biology, 1994

-Bachelor of science degree, magna cum laude, College of Agriculture, University of Missouri-Columbia, 1996; Member of Honors College, University Scholars, Gamma Sigma Delta (honors fraternity) and recipient of multiple scholarships

-M.D., School of Medicine, University of Missouri-Columbia, 2000; recipient of Ian Thompson Memorial Urology Award, Jerome McCullough M.D. Scholarship and the Elmer C. Pepper Scholarship

-Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine Internship, General Surgery, 2001; Resident, Urology, 2006; Chief Resident and Instructor in Urology, 2006

-Indiana University School of Medicine, Fellow, Laparoscopic Endourology, Mayo Foundation Scholar, 2007

-Presently serves as a consultant, professor of urology, and the fellowship director of Endourology and Minimally Invasive Surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Az., with full faculty privileges in clinical and translational science at the Mayo Graduate School.

-Honors include the Patients’ Choice Award, given to the top five percent of national physicians based on patient ratings and feedback, 2011-2013

-Outstanding Young Physician Award, Alumni Association, MU School of Medicine, 2012

-Board member, Columbia College Board of Trustees, Columbia, MO.

Said of Dr. Humphreys:

Through teaching, researching and practicing medicine, Mitchell Humphreys enjoys a career marked by successes. He and his colleagues pioneered the first minimally invasive surgery for prostate cancer. He belongs to a multi-institutional NIH-funded group study designed to detect and treat kidney stone diseases. He helped found an international research consortium that addresses pressing clinical research questions and founded a non-profit group to deliver medical care to places in need globally. Humphreys has not forgotten his Columbia heritage. He is a member of the Columbia College Board of Trustees, where he is valued for his innovation and insight. Humphreys embodies the very spirit of Outstanding Alumni Award, as well as CPS Foundation goals of enhancing academic excellence in public schools.”

– Dr. Scott Dalrymple, President, Columbia College


Lora Lynn Iannotti

Lora Lynn Iannotti is an assistant professor at the Washington University George Warren Brown School of Social Work, where her current research focuses on program evaluation and impact modeling of undernutrition, infectious diseases, and poverty. In project sites in Haiti and East Africa, she is studying the combined effects of interventions designed to prevent undernutrition, improve water and sanitation, and foster economic development.

-Attended Parkade Elementary School, Jefferson Junior High, and Hickman High School

-Bachelor of arts in political science, University of Missouri-Columbia, 1990

-Master of arts, foreign affairs, University of Virginia, 1992

-Ph.D., international nutrition, The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg

-School of Public Health, 2007

-Worked on global hunger and undernutrition issues for more than ten years for various organizations, including the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, USAID/LINKAGES project, the U.S. Congressional Select Committee on Hunger in Washington, D.C., and several non-governmental organizations.

-Joined the faculty of the Brown School/Institute for Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis in 2009, where she teaches and conducts research in Haiti, Ecuador and Kenya on micronutrient deficiencies in young children.

Through my life adventures, I have been buoyed by the education and friendships received at Columbia Public Schools. Sometimes when I write, I hear the voice of a beloved English teacher correcting my sentence structure, or as I carry out statistical analyses, feel the soothing logic of algebra and computer science lessons learned long ago. And then, of course, there are the warm memories of time spent with dear friends who remain in my life today. Nothing has been important than this foundation. I recognize that I am privileged to pursue my passions and know that at the base of this was a childhood and education received in Columbia.”

– Lora Lynn Iannotti

Patty Kespohl

Patty Kespohl became the first coach of the iconic Golden Girls at the University of Missouri-Columbia in the 1960s. Her love of the University and the community, as well as her passion for dance and watching young women grow and mature, have been driving forces in her life.

-Attended Jefferson Junior High School and Hickman High School, where she was the band’s majorette.

-While in high school, Patty formed a baton-twirling studio providing group and private baton lessons to literally thousands of Columbia children. Her groups performed in parades and public events for more than 25 years.

-Bachelor of arts, music education, University of Missouri-Columbia, 1968

-In 1964 Patty was selected as the MU feature twirler and began working closely with the other twirlers who had recently taken the name the “Golden Girls.” She soon became the coach of this group and they transitioned to a dance line in 1974. The Golden Girls won their first National Title in 1987 under Patty’s direction, and this fall celebrated their 50th anniversary.

-In 1993, Patty transitioned from Golden Girl coach to MU Spirit Squad Coordinator, overseeing the Truman the Tiger mascot and the University Cheerleaders.

-Patty retired from MU to become the office secretary at Trinity Lutheran Church, of which she has been a member and organist since 1959.

-Patty continues to be involved with dance and young people in the community.

When my family moved to Columbia in 1959, we had a rooming house on Hitt Street, so immediately we were part of that campus life. That fall when I attended my first football game, I was awestruck by the event with all of its excitement and pageantry. I knew immediately I wanted to be a part of it! I couldn’t imagine a life having not attended the University of Missouri and living in Columbia. The experience has given me so much: a degree, my husband, a 34-year career, my closest friends and endless memories. I can still remember that first game my freshman year in 1964 marching down the field to the Missouri Waltz. I will always be grateful to the University for the opportunities I was given. What began as a volunteer position later turned into a part-time position that truly became a family affair. I was surprised that the Golden Girls became what it did. It never occurred to me to ask to be paid. How can you ask to be paid for something that you love to do? It just never seemed like work.

From my earliest days at Columbia Public Schools, the faculty of the music department at Hickman High School gave me so many opportunities and nurtured and encouraged my love of performance. The platform at Hickman gave me an opportunity to do the things I love in a supportive environment. The education and activities in this district prepared me for my experience at Mizzou and for the rest of my life. I will always be grateful to the education community in Columbia for their influence in the person I am today.”

– Patty Kespohl

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