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      Jeff City public schools name new superintendent

      Mitchell has an extensive background in education.

      A southwest Missouri educator will be the next superintendent of the Jefferson City School District.

      At a late afternoon news conference, the school board announced Dr. Brian Mitchell, 39, will head up the district beginning July 1, 2009.

      "The big challenge is improving student achievement," said Mitchell after Friday's news conference. "And in doing so, making sure that we've prioritized our resources so that we can continue to do that."

      Mitchell, who is from Bolivar, Mo., brings to the table 18 years of experience in public education. He has worked as an elementary and middle school teacher, an assistant principal, superintendent of the Fair Play R-2 School District and is currently the deputy superintendent of the Independence School District - a place board members say has more than prepared him for the job.

      "Independence School District is much larger than the Jefferson City School District," said school board president Tammy Turner. "And as deputy superintendent he basically runs that district, so he is more than capable."

      Mitchell said working for Jefferon City schools was his only choice. And his top priority will be listening to parents and increasing student achievement. When Mitchell takes over next year, he will be making $178,000 a year.

      He replaces the district's current superintendent, Bert Kimble, who will step down on June 30 after 12 years with the district.