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Dr. Jill Dunlap Brown, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education, Columbia Public Schools

Dr. Jill Dunlap Brown, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education, Columbia Public Schools

Job description:

I’m responsible for our 21 elementary buildings; the Center for Early Learning North; EEE gifted education; Parents as Teachers; elementary counseling; summer school; assessment, intervention, and data services; and our school improvement office.

Years lived in Columbia/Mid-Missouri:

I’ve lived in Columbia since 2005.

Original hometown:



Bachelor’s in elementary education from Westminster College; master’s in education in curriculum and instruction from MU; educational specialist degree in educational leadership and policy analysis from MU; and PhD in educational leadership and policy analysis from MU.

Professional background:

This year will be my 20th in education. Hard to believe! I’ve been fortunate to serve in many different roles. I have been a classroom teacher, an instructional coach, an educational consultant, a principal, and a district leader.

A favorite recent project:

Professionally, I’m so excited about the systems of support we’re putting in place in our district. We are being thoughtful about our planning for the future, and I’m very excited about this path we’re on together.

A Columbia businessperson I admire and why:

Not that I’m trying to earn points by saying this, but Dr. Peter Stiepleman is a wonderful role model and someone I admire and respect very much. He sets a high bar, and students are always at the center of all that he does and every decision he makes. He strives to be excellent every day. I have learned so much from him and know that will only continue.

Why I’m passionate about my job:

We’re impacting the future. How can you not be passionate about that? Every child deserves the best, and in my heart, I truly believe that we offer this to every child in CPS. I want to see all children successful, and I have huge passion for ensuring this happens in our district. My own children go to school here. I am completely invested in the future of Columbia Public Schools.

Why I’m passionate about my organization:

The people who work for Columbia Public Schools are the most caring, dedicated people. Every day, each of us wakes with the intention of being just a little bit better than the day before. We believe in being the best for our kids. Working with people who embody this belief is truly inspiring.

If I weren’t doing this for a living, I would:

Be a professional traveler. I enjoy exploring new places and learning new things. I would love for someone to hire me to travel to other countries so I can study their education systems!

The next challenge facing my industry:

We face many challenges in education right now, but one I’m passionate about involves my belief in public schools. I believe in every child’s right to a wonderful, top-notch education. I believe our district offers fantastic schools with amazing teachers. I feel fortunate knowing my own children are attending our schools.

My next professional goal:

My goal has always been and will always be to learn and do more. I want to consistently be better every day. I want to continue to work with people who challenge me, and I want to say that we are providing the best education we can for all our students.

Biggest lesson learned in business:

Never say never! I’ve learned that life will take you on an unbelievable journey if you just say yes to opportunities.

How I would like to impact the Columbia community:

I want to make our schools the very best they can be. We will always look for ways to be better and do more for the kids in our community. We are educating the Columbia of tomorrow. I do not take that lightly.

Greatest strength:

Perseverance. There are days the work is hard. On those days, I think of all we’ve done for our students. There are so many good things that happen in our schools every day. I hold on to the positive and do all I can to help it grow!

Greatest weakness:

My inability to say no. My husband would call me a workaholic. This work is too important to rest, and sometimes I have a hard time turning it off.

What I do for fun:

I spend every free minute with my family. We’re always looking for new adventures and new things to try.


I have an amazing husband who’s a teacher for Columbia Public Schools. Together, we have three boys. One will be entering middle school this year, one will be in fourth grade, and our youngest is five. My family is my heart. I am fortunate beyond belief, and I never take one day with them for granted.

Favorite place in Columbia:

Murry’s! We go every chance we get.

Accomplishment I’m most proud of:

Two-fold: first and foremost, my family. The title of mom will always be my greatest privilege and accomplishment. Professionally, the work we are doing right now with our team at CPS is exhilarating. I feel very fulfilled and very optimistic for the future.

Most people don’t know that:

I’ve held a series seven license, a series 63 license, and my insurance license! I worked for Edward Jones as a senior training specialist, where I taught classes to profitable brokers. To do this job, I had to earn all the credentials they held. What a great life lesson this job was! Those tests were very challenging, but I wouldn’t trade the experience I gained. It was a great job and a great company to work for.

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