Washington School District Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer was among eight Missouri superintendents nominated for the prestigious Robert L. Pearce Award.
The award is presented annually by the Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA).
VanLeer was nominated by her colleagues in the South Central MASA District. She was honored as a nominee during the awards banquet at the MASA Spring Conference April 4 at The Lodge of Four Seasons at Lake Ozark.
The Pearce award program is a longstanding tradition of the association honoring excellence in education and community leadership among Missouri superintendents.
The annual award was instituted in 1987 by Richard and David Pearce, then principals of the Pearce Corporation, a Missouri architectural firm specializing in educational facility planning.
The award’s purpose is to recognize the hard work and dedication of superintendents and their contributions to the children of Missouri.
“It’s an honor to be selected by my peers and serve as the South Central nominee, among the seven leaders from the other regions across the state,” VanLeer told The Missourian.
“I have enjoyed serving as a member of the MASA organization. I served as the South Central and St. Louis region president in the past and now engage as a member of the Legislative Committee,” she said. “I’ve learned a great deal over the years from so many. I’m grateful for the support and confidence.”
VanLeer joined the Washington School District in July 2003. She took over as superintendent in January 2009.
She is the first full-time female superintendent in the district’s history and believed to be only the sixth since the district became larger through consolidation.
VanLeer served as assistant principal at Washington High School from 2002 to 2006. She then served as assistant superintendent of human resources from 2006 to 2009.
Before coming to Washington, she taught health at Union Middle School for four years and coached volleyball at East Central College. Her first seven years in education were at Pacific High School as a P.E./health teacher and department chair. She also ran the volleyball program at Pacific.
She holds a doctorate of education leadership from Maryville University, earned her secondary principal certificate and Master of Science degree in education from Southwest Baptist University and a bachelor’s degree in education from Southwest Missouri State University.
VanLeer resides in the Beaufort area with her husband John, a teacher and coach at Pacific High School. They have two sons.