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      School year begins for Columbia's newest teachers

      150 new teachers gathered this morning for a kick-off breakfast at Gentry Middle School.

      The school year isn't far off, but it's already officially begun for Columbia's newest teachers and staff members.

      150 new teachers gathered this morning for a kick-off breakfast at Gentry Middle School.

      Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Peter Stiepleman isn't new to the district, but he's new to the job. He says about 1,500 people applied for the 150 teaching positions, some far from mid-Missouri.

      "99 percent of them are new, coming from as far as Honduras and Italy," said Stiepleman. "We have someone from Taiwan. So we're attracting people to come to Columbia. We're an asset to this community and people want to be here."

      After the breakfast, teachers headed to their individual schools to start prepping for the official first day of classes on August 19. Stiepleman says he's excited for this year to start.

      "What I'm going to share after breakfast here is the idea that we chose them, but we'll never lose fact that they chose us," said Stiepleman. "So I'm pretty excited. We've got great leaders, great teachers and we're going to do some marvelous things together."