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Chamber endorses two candidates for school board election on April 5

The Board of Directors of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Chad Courtney and Charles Taylor for Springfield Public Schools (R-12) Board of Education in the election on April 5. Through volunteer-driven committee evaluation and board of directors’ decision-making, the Chamber has been engaged in the process of endorsing qualified candidates for Springfield Public Schools Board of Education since 1999.

The endorsed candidates are:

Chad Courtney – Courtney is an attorney and owner/partner at Courtney & Mills, LLC. Courtney has demonstrated significant leadership in professional, civic and community organizations over the past two decades. He is a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow (Sunrise Rotary Club of Springfield) and currently serves on the University of Missouri Extension Council, the Association of Missouri Mediators Board, and the Mizzou Alumni Association Board. His has also served numerous other community and professional organizations including Boy Scouts of America Troop 235, Mighty Mites Football Board, Springfield Ballet Board, and he has chaired several committees for the Missouri Bar Association. As well, Courtney has served in a leadership role for his church, for several SPS individual school booster clubs and PTA organizations and as a volunteer coach for numerous youth athletic teams. He will also bring his experience and perspective as a small business owner to the board.

Charles Taylor – Taylor is the Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Communication at Drury University. Taylor has been engaged in community governing boards and civic service for decades, including serving a current term on the SPS Board of Education. Taylor has also served on the Missouri School Boards Association Board of Directors, The New American Colleges and Universities Board of Directors, Every Child Promise Early Childhood Education Planning Team and the Boys and Girls Club of Springfield Scholarship Committee.

Member-driven process
Local attorney Elizabeth Wente chairs the Chamber’s School Board Endorsement Task Force, which interviews all candidates and makes a recommendation to the Chamber board. “This is a well-established, thorough and thoughtful process,” Wente said. “The task force represents a wide variety of business sectors, industries and perspectives. The Chamber’s board-adopted education platform is utilized as the framework for the written survey provided to candidates as well as the in-person questionnaire for use in the interview process.”

The Chamber’s Education Platform is focused on ensuring the region’s K-12 school systems successfully prepare students for higher education and the workforce. Through that platform, the Chamber board also affirms the importance to the business community of helping ensure Springfield Public Schools succeeds as a premier school district by meeting key performance indicators including student achievement, graduation rates and resource utilization.

Wente said it was a privilege to interview the candidates, noting that all clearly have a passion for education and for the students of Springfield Public Schools. “We appreciate the willingness of each candidate to serve,” she said. “Strong community support around our public education system is crucial in the growth and prosperity of our city and region. The defining factors in our recommendation centered around who has a proven track record in board-related leadership and evaluating who is the best equipped to lead the district.”

“From a business perspective, it is vital to have an endorsement process designed to identify the most qualified candidates,” said Brian Hammons, small business owner and Chamber board member. “This is the state’s largest school district and highly complex in its operations. Board members must be prepared to lead on day one. The board has endorsed Chad Courtney and Charles Taylor based on their level of board governance experience and financial acumen, and their understanding of the relationship between education, the business community and preparing our students for career success – hopefully, someday, in our own community.”

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