Hall of Leaders - Educators

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.

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.

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

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