Residents Meet Columbia Superintendent Candidates

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COLUMBIA - Columbia residents met the two finalists for the new Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Tuesday.

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The district hosted the "Meet and Greet", allowing residents to get a feel for their different personalities.

The two candidates are Dr. Dred Scott, who is currently the Deputy Superintendent in Independence, and Dr. Peter Stiepleman, Columbia Public School District's Deputy Superintendent of Elementary Education.

Scott, who was named after the plaintiff of a former Supreme Court Case (though unrelated), says he came from an impoverished background. Scott says he had to worry about where his next meal would come from during his childhood. He says the adversity he faced is what drives him as an educator. 

Scott says his district in Independence is similar to Columbia, in both size and demographics.

Stiepleman has worked in Columbia for over a decade, and has built trust with a large portion of the community. He says he is committed to the community since they were there for him almost two years ago. Stiepleman's wife was hit by a driver in a hit-and-run accident in 2012. Immediately after the accident Stiepleman says the community rushed to his aid, helping him and his three children get through it while his wife recovered in the hospital. He says since that day he has been committed to the community.

From a policy perspective both candidates are similar.

Both believe in a hands on approach, and support measures such as Common Core.

Both said the community is vital to the success of its students.

The decision on who will get the job will be made in the coming months.

The new superintendent will be in place for the start of the next school year.