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Tom Davis, Former Missouri State Board President, Receives National Honor

October 17, 2008

Tom Davis, former President of the Missouri State Board of Education, is being awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). The national award is given annually to a state board of education member in recognition of outstanding service to public education.

“Tom Davis is one of the most influential education leaders in Missouri history. He enjoys a similar reputation nationally as an early and effective proponent of the standards-based reform movement. His knowledge and judgment gave him the bipartisan respect of governors, legislators and other state leaders. His leadership in tackling big problems and his effectiveness in implementing sweeping education reforms has earned him the gratitude of the citizens and students of Missouri,” said Brenda Welburn, NASBE Executive Director.

Davis was instrumental in helping to enact landmark legislation that changed Missouri’s school finance system, instituted mandatory state academic standards and assessments, and mandated full day kindergarten. He was also a key figure in the state’s development of teacher education standards and a stalwart leader in the pivotal political and legal showdown when the state board of education stood firm in enforcing its accreditation standards and decertified the Kansas City school district, the state’s second largest school district.

Tom Davis was appointed to the Missouri State Board of Education in July 1987 by Governor John Ashcroft and has served continuously on the board for the past 19 years except for a brief, three-month hiatus in 1999, making him one of, if not the longest, tenured state board members in Missouri history.

In that time, he has served three consecutive terms as board president, a member of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, as a member of the National Goals Panel Advisory Panel, a board member of the Mid-Continent Regional Education Lab, and the first recipient of the University of Missouri’s Honorary Alumnus Award. Davis was NASBE President in 1997 and chairman of the NASBE Foundation in 1998.

The award is being presented at NASBE’s national conference in Arlington, Virginia on October 17.

NASBE, www.nasbe.org, represents America’s state and territorial boards of education. Our principal objectives are to strengthen state leadership in education policymaking; advocate equality of access to educational opportunity; promote excellence in the education of all students; and assure responsible lay governance of education.




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