Gov. Greitens picks three new members for Missouri Board of Education

Gov. Eric Greitens announced Monday that he has appointed three new members to the seven-member Missouri Board of Education.

The state board accredits school districts, approves new charter schools, sets state academic performance standards, hires the state education commissioner and creates policy governing elementary and secondary education in Missouri.

Greitens appointed these people to the board, according to a news release:

• Melissa Gelner, chief kinship officer at the Missouri-based Askinosie Chocolate company. Gelner is executive director of Chocolate University, a nonprofit of Askinosie that educates local students about the international production and direct trade of chocolate. She’s also a principal at M Gelner Marketing. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from University of Tulsa.

• Eddy Justice, owner and an agent of Eddy Justice State Farm Insurance Agency. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from John Brown University.

• Delbert Scott, president of Kansas Christian College. He is a former Missouri state senator and state representative. He holds a bachelor’s degree in education and comprehensive social studies from Southwest Missouri State College.

The new appointments are subject to Senate approval. They replace these outgoing members:

• Peter Herschend of Branson, who has been on the state board since 1991. He’s the founder and co-owner of Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation, which owns Silver Dollar City and other properties. 

• Maynard Wallace of Thornfield, who was appointed to the board in 2014. He is a former superintendent, teacher, coach, principal and state representative. .

• Russell Still of Columbia, who was appointed to the board in 2010. He is a partner in the Harlan, Harlan & Still law firm and a former teacher.

Greitens can still appoint one more board member to replace John Martin, who represents the Kansas City area on the board and whose term has expired. State law requires that board members with expired terms remain on the board until the governor replaces them or they are reappointed. No more than four members on the board can belong to the same political party.

Current State Board members were learning Monday of the new appointments.

“This is the best board I’ve ever worked with and I’m really sorry to see it broken up,” said Victor Lenz, vice president of the State Board.

The board’s next meeting is on Tuesday in Osage Beach with the Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

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