Branson Businessman Appointed to the Missouri Board of Education

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- With the appointments announced today, by Governor Parson, of two new members to the Missouri Board of Education, including Branson businessman Peter Herschend, the board can now conduct business after months in limbo.

Herschend, co-owner of Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation, formerly Silver Dollar City, Inc., is a former member and former president of the board. The appointment of he and Kansas City businesswoman Carol Hallquist was announced today (6/12/18).

The board has been unable to operate in recent months during a period when former Gov. Eric Greitens appointed and withdrew the appointments of several members in a successful effort to remove former board commissioner Margie Vandeven. With only three members remaining on the eight-member board, the group could not function with a quorum. The addition of Herschend and Hallquist creates that quorum and the board can meet and operate. 

"We owe it to our students to provide the best, high-quality public education in Missouri," Parson said in a news release announcing the appointments. "It was important to act quickly to restore and provide functionality to the State Board of Education. We expect the Board will begin conducting a diligent national search, to find a capable, qualified candidate to serve as Missouri's Commissioner of Education."

Hallquist is the founder of PrincipalsConnect, a nonprofit organization that matches retired business professionals with urban school principals. She retired as president of the Hallmark Corporate Foundation at Hallmark Cards, Inc. in 2016. She serves as the director of SchoolSmart Kansas City, as regional board chair of Teach for America and is a member of the William Jewell College Board of Trustees.

Herschend served three terms on the State Board of Education, including four two-year terms as president. In 2011, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce honored Herschend with its Education Supporter of the Year award. He holds a degree in business administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an honorary doctorate in business administration from Southwest Baptist University.

Charlie Shields, President of the Missouri State Board of Education, is quoted in Parson's news release as saying the decision to appoint the two new members "will help restore and maintain stability. As a board, we are ready to work together to give Missouri students what they deserve - the best public education."

The Board of Education currently consists of five members; Charlie Shields, President of the Board; O. Victor Lenz, Jr., Vice President; Michael W. Jones, Member; Peter Herschend, Member; Carol Hallquist, Member. The Board, when complete, is comprised of eight citizens appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Members serve staggered, eight-year terms so that one term expires each year. No more than four members of the Board may belong to the same political party. 

According to Missourinet, the board has a meeting scheduled for Thursday. The agenda includes an update on the search for the next Commissioner, renewal consideration for several charter schools and discussion about the development of MSIP 6 – the state’s school accountability system for reviewing and accrediting Missouri’s public school districts.

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