Members picked for MO commission on teacher pay

A Springfield area business leader will chair a new state-level group created to develop a detailed plan aimed at attracting and keeping enough highly qualified teachers inside Missouri classrooms.

Mark Walker, chairman and CEO of the Transland trucking company, will lead a Teacher Recruitment and Retention Blue Ribbon Commission appointed by the Missouri Board of Education.

The list of 18 commission members was made public Tuesday as part of the state board meeting. The final four are expected to be named next month.

On the list, there are two from southwest Missouri: Melissa “Misty” Grandel and Kurt Hellweg.

Grandel is a language arts teacher at Fordland High School. She was the 2020 Missouri Teacher of the Year.

Hellweg, of Springfield, serves as chairman of the Board of International Dehydrated Foods, Inc .; American Dehydrated Foods, Inc.; Food Ingredients Technology Company, LLC; and IsoNova Technologies, LLC – all privately held companies that manufacture and market ingredients for both the food and feed industries.

The complete list was put together by a trio of state board members: Mary Schrag, of West Plains: Don Claycomb, of Linn; and Kim Bailey of Raymore. They will also serve on the commission.

Mary Schrag, a member of the Missouri Board of Education, is from West Plains.

“We focused on making sure we had good representation from across the state, from different backgrounds,” Schrag said.

She said there is a mix of rural, suburban and metro areas.

Schrag said the commission is heavily populated with business and industry leaders, by design, but noted many also have an education background.

“The intention is that the business that benefits from having a well-educated society and prospective employees in the future will help drive this,” she said.

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