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      Columbia Public Schools names new superintendent

      Dr. Stiepleman will replace retiring School Superintendent Dr. Chris Belcher.

      Update: March 14, 2014, 4:45 p.m.

      The Columbia Public School District has a new superintendent.

      School board members chose Dr. Peter Stiepleman as their new leader.

      School officials said they made a tough decision with the help of parents and community leaders.

      Dr. Stiepleman will replace retiring School Superintendent Dr. Chris Belcher. His main priority is helping at risk students.

      Dr. Stiepleman said, ??An achievement gap is something that we??ve talked about since I arrived here. That was ten years ago. I??m sure it was part of the conversation before that. That??s figuring out ways to eliminate the disparities between kids and groups. That??s really our big focus for our community.??

      The board received 18 applications and narrowed the search to 2 finalists. The other finalist was Independence, Missouri Deputy School Superintendent Dr. Dred Scott.

      Dr. Stiepleman is a familiar face in Columbia. He has held various positions throughout the school system including third grade teacher, Assistant Principal of Derby Ridge Elementary, and Principal of West Boulevard Elementary.

      Board President Christine King said hundreds of parents and community leaders showed equal support for both finalists. King said Stiepleman??s ties to Columbia gave him the edge.

      King said, ??It is very true that Dr. Stiepleman is very well supported in the community. He knows the community very well with his bond presentations. He??s in Rotary. He??s on the Housing Authority. Of course, he??s a very active, involved parent with 3 children and a wife who works at Mizzou.??

      It took board members about 2 months to make their decision. Dr. Stiepleman starts his new job on July 1.

      Dr. Stiepleman is currently the Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education at Columbia Public Schools.

      Original Story:

      The Columbia Public School District has a new superintendent.

      Friday, the Columbia Board of Education selected Dr. Peter Stiepleman as superintendent effective July 1, 2014. The board approved the appointment Thursday evening to replace Dr. Chris Belcher who will retire on June 30.

      The board received 18 applications and narrowed the search to two finalists.

      ??Board of Education members are excited about the future with Dr. Stiepleman as our next educational leader for the school district,?? said Christine King, board president. ??We anticipate a smooth transition and look forward to continuing our work to provide an excellent education for all students.??

      Stiepleman is currently the assistant superintendent for elementary education at Columbia Public Schools.