Teresa Maledy is the first 2018 school board candidate to respond to the questions we sent out last week. Here are her answers:
1. How Meet CPPS Criteria and Role on the Board:
Ability to Work Effectively With Others/Exhibits Needed Skills and Experience:
I believe my experience will serve me well on the CPS Board. I have over 30 years’ experience leading a variety of teams within Commerce Bank. I’ve developed a reputation for being a pragmatic problem solver, for collaborating, and for asking the right questions to guide the organization towards success. Over the years I’ve served on numerous nonprofit boards and a corporate board. These experiences further reinforced my belief in the importance of strong and balanced board leadership.
These same guiding principles apply to the Columbia School Board position:
- The CPS board is responsible for hiring and retaining a qualified CEO/Superintendent. It is important for the board to appropriately delegate authority to the Superintendent and then monitor performance related to goals.
- The CPS board works with the Superintendent to define and articulate the school district’s vision. That vision needs to represent and balance the goals of the stakeholders: 1) the students, 2) the teachers and staff, 3) the parents, and 4) all tax payers/community members.
- The CPS board must actively represent and continuously seek engagement with the community. I know I can impact this effort.
I see the ideal school board as representing different aspects of the community, perhaps with different constituencies and unique perspectives on ways to improve the district. It doesn’t necessarily take a consensus, but it does take everyone pushing forward to make the district the best it can be.
On a day-to-day basis I proactively and visibly embrace the importance of valuing diversity in the workplace and our community.
In addition to forming an active Inclusion and Diversity Council for our own employees in the Central Missouri Region, as the regional CEO for Commerce Bank, I chose for our bank to be one of the founding members of the Diversity Awareness Partnership (DAP), created in Columbia to support local diversity and inclusion efforts.
I am a founding member of the Cradle to Career Alliance and one of our top priorities is to close the achievement gap across all demographics.
I was also proud and honored to receive the NAACP Roy Wilkins Award for Community Service.
Seeks Excellence In Education
As a board member of the Alliance for Childhood Education, a founding member of the Cradle to Career Alliance, and former member of the Coordinating Board for Early Childhood Education, my interest in education is long-term. I am committed to supporting education and Columbia Schools in whatever capacity I can best serve, should that be as board member or beyond. If I am successful in this election it will be an opportunity for me to more publicly serve our students and our community.
Community Builder and Leader
Community service is very important to me and I have been involved in several community organizations. I currently serve on the University of Missouri Health System Advisory Board and the Board of Curators Health Affairs Committee, the Stephens College Board of Trustees, the Stephens College Endowment Foundation Board, the REDI Board and the Columbia Insurance Group Board of Directors. I am also affiliated with the Alliance for Childhood Education and one of the founding members of the Cradle to Career Alliance in Columbia.
I have served as Chair of the board of the Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation and was the founding Chair of the Community Foundation for Central Missouri. I am Past Chair for the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and Past President of Columbia South Rotary Board of Directors. I served on the board of Central Missouri Food Bank, the United Way Board, and the Boone County Coordinating Board for Early Childhood Education.
I was the recipient of the Stephens College Alumna Achievement Award, the Columbia Public School Foundation Distinguished Alumna Award, the Columbia of Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award, the Athena Award through the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, the NAACP Roy Wilkins Award for Community Service, the Stephens College Alumna Service Award, the 2014 Greater Missouri Leadership Woman of the Year Award, the 2017 Association of Fundraisers Spirit of Philanthropy Award and was recognized in of the 2017 Inaugural Class of CoMo 100.
Strong Advocate For Public Education
I’ve been actively engaged with educational issues for many years and believe a strong Columbia Public School System is an important factor in the quality of life we enjoy here in Central Missouri. Since moving back to Columbia 20 years ago, I’ve personally put my support of the district into action by serving on several election committees supporting CPS bond issues and tax levies. As a member of the Alliance for Childhood Education I have testified in front of our legislators in Jefferson City on the importance of quality early childhood education. I’ve continued this proactive support of education through the board of Cradle to Career Alliance.
2. What do you consider to be key challenges facing CPS and how will you contribute to meeting that challenge?
As with all school districts in Missouri, a primary challenge for CPS is its vulnerability tied to any reduction in state funding. This funding unpredictability requires CPS to continually seek efficiencies and innovative solutions, and we must be prepared to re-evaluate programs and practices considering fiscal realities and community expectations.
Like many cities, achieving educational equity is a big challenge for Columbia, and it is critically important we identify successful strategies we can implement now and in the future, as our school district continues to grow. I believe the solution is not just the responsibility of the administration or educators in Columbia Public Schools. It is up to each one of us to ensure educational equity across our student body. This is one of the reasons I chose to support the Cradle to Career Alliance when it was founded here in Columbia.
Our approach is based on the successful “Strive Model” whereby we intentionally and strategically bring people together from across the community to work on common goals that put our children on a path to success. We use data to identify disparities across key educational milestones and then collaborate with Boone County school districts, businesses and other community organizations to find solutions. The members of Cradle to Career believe that if we share and communicate a common vision of our goals, we can work more effectively together. I understand that each student is unique and deserves equal opportunities to thrive. I also know that it takes each of us to forge a dedicated partnership between school and community. I believe I can contribute meaningfully to this important goal.
3. What do you think CPS does particularly well, and how do we sustain that?
The Columbia Public School System has many assets including strong community engagement and a history of financial support from the voters. I believe the school board, the administration, educators and staff are all focused on student success and they are willing to explore innovative ways, supported by relevant data, to meet the needs of our rapidly growing student base. Long-range planning has been particularly wise in linking new building plans and trailer retirement with successive, no-tax-increase bond issues.
One of my top priorities as a CPS board member would be to ensure that the district continues to earn the community’s confidence, trust, and consistent financial support.