Governor Parson to Speak at Fourth Annual Missouri Legislators Retreat

October 20, 2021

Fourth Annual Missouri Legislators Retreat Returns to Jefferson City 

After a Virtual Retreat Last Year, The Hunt Institute Returns to Missouri In-Person at Lincoln University 

Jefferson City, MO – The fourth annual Missouri Legislators Retreat convenes in Jefferson City on Thursday, October 21 and Friday, October 22. After a virtual event last year, The Hunt Institute will gather education- and workforce-minded legislators at Lincoln University to discuss the pandemic’s impact on education and the role funding and innovation will play in recovery.

On Thursday afternoon, directly after a session on early childhood governance, Governor Michael Parson will give remarks. In January, Gov. Parson issued an executive order consolidating Missouri’s early childhood programs into a new “Office of Childhood” within the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The Office launched formally in August, making Missouri one of only a handful of states to successfully unify programs and funding streams supporting young children.

“Bringing our State Legislators Retreat model to our partner states and working with legislators is always an enlightening experience,” said Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, president and CEO of The Hunt Institute. “Despite the fact that every state has its own set of unique challenges related to education, the legislators we convene tend to have similar concerns around one major thing: creating an environment where all children, of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities can thrive.”

Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, Sen. Lauren Arthur, Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin, Rep. Check Basye, and Rep. Raychel Proudie co-chair the Retreat. Together, these leaders have experience serving on the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee, House Higher Education Committee, and Senate Education Committee.

Secretary Ashcroft, also a Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellow, said, “I’ve had the opportunity to visit schools across Missouri and talk to students about their future and the future of our state. Students are glad to be back in the classroom; they’re energetic, engaged – they ask questions. I hope that, in some small way, my words will encourage students to continue to pursue their dreams and reach their God-given potential – despite difficult circumstances.”

The Retreat will begin with time devoted to understanding the challenges brought to the education system by the pandemic. Additional sessions will explore the education continuum, from early childhood education to postsecondary education and the workforce. Sessions focused on K-12 will cover the state funding formula, school choice, innovation, curriculum, and teacher preparation and retention.

“I’ve been in schools my whole life. I’ve driven a bus, worked as an administrator, and proudly served on my local school board,” said Sen. O’Laughlin. “Our children and teachers deserve to be held to high standards, no matter their background. We have to believe all children have the ability to succeed in the classroom and in life.”

In addition to Retreat co-chairs, legislators will also hear from a variety of resource experts and education leaders from across the state and country including:

  • The Honorable Howie Morales, Lieutenant Governor, New Mexico, 2019 – Present, Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellow Cohort Six
  • The Honorable Scott Fitzpatrick, Treasurer of State, Missouri, 2019 – Present, Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellow Cohort Six
  • The Honorable Caleb Rowden, Majority Floor Leader, Missouri State Senate District 19
  • The Honorable Brenda Shields, Chair, House Higher Education Committee, Missouri House of Representatives District 11
  • The Honorable Brian Williams, Member, Senate Appropriations Committee, Missouri State Senate District 14
  • Commissioner Margie Vandeven, Commissioner, Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
  • Dr. Pam Thomas, Assistant Commissioner, Early Learning, Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
  • Deidre Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, United Inner City Services
  • Dr. William Anderson, T.E.P Director, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Denver
  • Superintendent Kirsten Baesler, Superintendent of Public Instruction, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction
  • Mya Baker, Vice President, Midwest, TNTP
  • Dr. Jonathan Collins, Assistant Professor, Brown University
  • Amy Curran, Oklahoma Executive Director, Generation Citizen
  • Dr. Howard Fields, III, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Kirkwood School District
  • Nathan Hoffman, Director, State Policy & Legislation, ExcelinEd
  • Charles King, Chief Executive Officer, Kansas City Teacher Residency
  • Amber Northern, Senior Vice President for Research, The Fordham Institute
  • Edgar Palacios, President & CEO, Latinx Education Collaborative
  • Dr. Gary Ritter, Dean, School of Education, Saint Louis University
  • Awais Sufi, President & CEO, School Smart KC
  • Oscar Sweeten-Lopez, President, College Success Tools, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

Missouri is one of seven states participating in The Institute’s State Legislators Retreat model, which began in North Carolina in 2003.

“I am very proud of, and grateful for, the four-year partnership we have had with The Hunt Institute,” said Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe, another Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellow. “Following the disruption of the past 19 months, it is imperative that our legislators listen to, and learn about, the most pressing issues affecting students from pre-K to post-secondary. I look forward to continuing to build upon our state’s capacity of ensuring that all Missouri students receive a high-quality education.”



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