Gov. Jay Nixon was at the University of Missouri today to applaud the Missouri public school districts taking part in this week's Governor's Conference on Baldrige in Education. The conference, hosted by the Missouri Network for Educational Improvement, has brought national experts together with educators, administrators and board members to discuss successful educational improvement approaches developed by the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program.
Missouri businessman and philanthropist Larry Potterfield and his wife, Brenda, recently pledged to donate $1 million to the first Missouri school district to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's highest Presidential honor for performance excellence. Mr. Potterfield is the founder and CEO of MidwayUSA, a national leader in hunting, firearm and sportsman products. MidwayUSA adopted the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Criteria in 2006 and received the award in 2009.
"For Missouri to compete in today's global economy, our students need to graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and careers," Gov. Nixon said. "To accomplish that goal we need a comprehensive approach that includes not just more resources, but also higher expectations, greater accountability and a commitment to excellence at every level. With a proven record of improving performance and outcomes, the Baldrige program is an important tool to help schools deliver real results for our students and our economy. I thank the Potterfields for funding this generous award and applaud the Missouri school districts that are competing to win it."
"The generosity of the Potterfields' gift demonstrates what can be achieved when our state's successful entrepreneurs and philanthropists put their resources towards positive efforts to help our schools succeed," Gov. Nixon said. "It is an incredible commitment, and I appreciate everything Larry and Brenda continue to do for Missouri's children and families."
The Potterfields' $1 million gift challenge will reinforce current efforts for measurable educational improvements among Missouri's public school districts as they strive to achieve "role model status," as defined by the Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence. The $1 million gift will be stewarded by the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award until it is awarded.
"This is for the children," Larry Potterfield said. "We want to impact the educational system, to make school districts more accountable, and to better prepare and educate the next generation so that our nation can continue to compete in the global marketplace."
Among the participating school districts at the conference are the Affton School District, the Blue Springs School District, the Bolivar R-I School District, the Brentwood School District, the Camdenton R-III School District, Columbia Public Schools, the Dunklin R-V School District, the Eldon School District, the Grain Valley School District, the Hallsville School District, Jefferson City Public Schools, the Liberty School District, Marshall Public Schools, the Maryville R-I School District, the Moberly School District, the Park Hill School District, the Platte County School District, the Purdy R-II School District, the Raymore-Peculiar School District, the School of the Osage, the Southern Boone County R-I School District, Springfield Public Schools, the Special School District, the St. Joseph School District, and the Stanberry R-II School District.
The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is named for Malcolm Baldrige, who served as Secretary of Commerce from 1981 until his death in 1987. His managerial excellence contributed to long-term improvement in efficiency and effectiveness of government.