School/Community Programs and Communications Coordinator, Columbia Public Schools – Age: 31
When it comes to serving schools in Columbia, Michelle Baumstark is certainly no stranger. Her educational experience in the community blossomed in 1998, when she graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
In 2005, after five years of working as the assistant director and administration and accountability/information technology coordinator for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Division of Career Education, Baumstark joined Columbia Public Schools.
“Through my work at Columbia Public Schools I have had the opportunity to witness, participate in and develop some important and valuable partnerships between the school district, businesses, community organizations and Columbia’s higher education institutions,” said Baumstark. “These partnerships are both formal and informal, but in all instances the goal is to do what is best for kids.”
Baumstark and her husband, Frank, enjoy spending time with their 2-year-old daughter, Tierney, and their two rescued dogs, Abby and Chester. They also enjoy watching MU football and Cardinals baseball and run a small lawn business called Tiger Turf.
Baumstark’s community involvement encompasses an extensive number of organizations, including the Columbia Chamber of Commerce Education and Workforce Development Committees, the Columbia South Rotary Club, the Columbia Values Diversity Celebration Planning Committee, the Women’s Network, City of Columbia Visioning Outreach, the Columbia Volunteer Network, the Public Relations Society of America, the Missouri Association of Publications and, through her job, Partners in Education for Columbia Public Schools.
“Currently the district’s Partners in Education program is focused on building student achievement though its partnerships,” said Baumstark. “It is my belief that a strong, effective partnership is an invaluable strategy to impact systemic school reform and real progress in education. Through effective partnerships, the businesses and the larger community realize they can effectively impact the ‘end product’—the students.”