Incoming superintendent plans to meet with predecessor

Mar 14, 2014

Peter Stiepleman was announced as the new Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Friday March 14. He will replace outgoing Superintendent Chris Belcher July 1, 2014.
Credit Heather Adams / KBIA

The Columbia Board of Education announced Friday that Peter Stiepleman will be the district’s new superintendent.

The Columbia Board of Education met for about four and a half hours Thursday night deciding between the two candidates. Christine King is the school board president. She says that because Stiepleman is already familiar with the schools and community he is well educated on what problems the district needs to fix. King says as an internal candidate they knew Stiepleman would communicate well with the school board.

“Those are things an external candidate, unfortunately, just may not be able to demonstrate how well they would work with the board” King says.

Stiepleman says when he went to schools during the interview process, he would see children he already knew and was excited to greet them.

He says that because he is already a part of the Columbia Public Schools he will meet with outgoing Superintendent Chris Belcher to make a plan for a smooth transition.

“He has created an incredible model, one that exists here in the community that he has listening groups, advisory groups,” Stiepleman says. “So I would anticipate doing the same type of work or joining them, to be able to hear exactly what people are thinking.”

Steipleman says that taking over as superintendent is not about changing the district’s goals but possibly increasing intensity or working smarter.