Hall of Leaders - Retired Educators

Marilyn Skipper

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.

She holds a bachelor’s of science degree in elementary education and a master’s in elementary administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Marilyn has been very active in the Columbia Community Teachers Association and was selected as Elementary Teacher of the Year in 1991. She has also been active with the Missouri Retired Teachers Association and has served in leadership positions on the executive board for 18 years. She is a member of Delta Kappa Gamma and Alpha Delta Kappa, international honorary organizations for women educators.

Pat Jackson

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.

Pat attended Grant and Ridgeway Elementary Schools, Jefferson Junior High School, Hickman High School and the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in education.

In retirement, Pat has volunteered with the Assistance League of Mid-Missouri, the Missouri United Methodist Church and Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity, where she helped organize the construction of the first local Habitat Office and Restore as well as the first All-Women Build in Columbia.

Owen Jackson

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.

He has a bachelor’s of science degree in elementary education from Southwest Missouri State College and a master’s of education in elementary school administration and a doctorate of education in school administration, supervision and curriculum, both from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

After retiring from CPS, Owen became an assistant professor of education at Columbia College and later the coordinator for clinical experiences. Among his many honors, he is the recipient of the MU College of Education’s Citation of Merit for Outstanding Achievement and Meritorious Service.

Julia Marsh

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.

She is a graduate of Hickman High School. She holds a bachelor’s of education degree and a master’s of education from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Julia was honored as a state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching of Mathematics and Science in 1999 and 2001, and as the Outstanding Elementary Mathematics Educator by the Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics in 2003. She has also been heavily involved in local, state and national 4-H programs.

Jack Jensen

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.

Jack earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Missouri State University, and a master’s of education and doctorate in general administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Following his retirement from CPS, Jack served as the executive director of First Chance for Children, working on early childhood issues both locally and statewide. He is currently president-elect of Missouri KidsFirst, a statewide nonprofit working to prevent child abuse and neglect.

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.

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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