Renewing Our Commitment 
to Public Education:  Transformative Ideas for Missouri Schools
2023 Assembly, May 18-19, Hook Center for Educational Renewal

The Hook Center for Educational Leadership and District Renewal’s Annual Assembly was held May 18-19, 2023 at The State Historical Society of Missouri, Columbia, MO. Educators, administrators, scholars, policymakers, and community members presented on key educational issues facing Missouri schools.

For more information, please contact Sarah Diem, Hook Center Director, at

Keynote Speakers

Kathy Steinhoff

Representative Kathy Steinhoff, a Democrat, represents part of Boone County (District 45) in the Missouri House of Representatives. She was elected to her first two-year term in November 2022. Prior to serving in the legislature, Steinhoff taught math in Columbia Public Schools for 34 years. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and in 2011 was named the NEA National Teacher of the Year, and MU’s College of Education & Human Development 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award. Steinhoff was extensively involved with her local teacher’s union, where she served in many capacities, including as president from 2015 to 2021. She also served for nine years on the negotiations team. She is a member of Moms Demand Action. A graduate of Truman High School, Steinhoff obtained a bachelor’s degree in Math Education, and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Missouri. Born in St. Louis, Steinhoff now resides in Columbia with her husband and daughter. She is a longtime member of Our Lady of Lourdes parish.

Heather Fleming

Heather Fleming is the founder and director of In Purpose Educational Services (IPES), author of the book My Black Friend Says…: Lessons in Equity, Inclusion, and Cultural Competency, and founder of the MO Equity Education Partnership (MoEEP). She also currently serves as the senior organizer at the African American Policy Forum. Prior to her work in organizing and equity training, she spent eight years in the public service sector before moving into education. She served as an English Language Arts teacher for 14 years before becoming a full-time equity and inclusion training and program design professional. Her goal for her work in this field is to promote healing, understanding, and equity for all.


Day 1: Thursday, May 18th

11:30 am – 12:00 pm: Registration

12:00 – 12:15 pm: Opening Remarks – Cook Hall

  • Dr. Chris Riley-Tillman, Dean, College of Education and Human Development, University of Missouri
  • Dr. Sarah Diem, Hook Center Director and Professor, University of Missouri

12:15 – 1:15 pm: Keynote & Lunch – Cook Hall

  • “The Political Landscape of Education in Missouri” – Kathy Steinhoff, Missouri State Representative

1:15 – 1:30 pm: Break

1:30 – 3:45 pm: Breakout Sessions (concurrent sessions, 45 min each, will rotate through all 3)

  • “Building Community-Based Research Partnerships for Equity: Lessons Learned from the Midwest” – Dr. Lisa Dorner, Associate Professor, University of Missouri; Sophia Piral Lee, Doctoral Student, University of Missouri – Room 216
  • “Supporting Student Mental Health and Well-Being: Challenges and Future Directions” – Dr. Sarah Owens, Director of the Boone County Schools Mental Health Coalition, University of Missouri – Room 217
  • “Why do School Board Members Matter?” – Blake Willoughby, Columbia Public Schools; Heather Cleavinger, Moberly School District; Bryon Jacques, Marshall Public Schools – Room 218

3:50 – 4:00 pm: First Day Remarks – Cook Hall

4:00 – 6:00 pm: Reception/Networking Session – The Heidelberg

  • Address: 410 S 9th St, Columbia, MO
  • Drink tickets and appetizers will be provided

Day 2: Friday, May 19th

8:00 – 8:45 am: Opening Remarks & Breakfast – Cook Hall

8:45 – 9:45 am: Panel – Cook Hall

  • “A View into Today’s Classrooms: Insights from Missouri Teachers” – Shakira Cross, Kansas City Public Schools; Samantha Symonds, Columbia Public Schools; Alyson Hurt, Boonville R-I School District; Taylor Buckner, Columbia Public Schools

9:45 – 10:00 am: Break

10:00 am – 12:15 pm: Breakout Sessions (concurrent sessions, 45 min each, will rotate through all 3)

  • “Reinforcing the Missouri Teacher Workforce” – Dr. Daryl Fridley, Coordinator for Educator Preparation, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – Room 216
  • “Missouri’s Leadership Development System (MLDS) – Because Effective Leadership Should Not Happen by Accident” – Dr. Jim Masters, Coordinator for the Missouri Leadership Development System, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – Room 217
  • “School-Community Collaborations Through Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Leadership” – Dr. David Aguayo, Senior Research Associate, Missouri Prevention Science Institute; Dr. Trinity Davis, President and Founder of Teachers Like Me – Room 218

12:15 – 1:15 pm: Lunch – Cook Hall

1:15 – 3:30 pm: Breakout Sessions (concurrent sessions, 45 min each, will rotate through all 3)

  • “Educating Lawmakers: A Guide to Communication and Policy” – Dr. Sarah Anderson, MOST Policy Initiative Human Services & Public Safety Fellow – Room 216
  • “Dynamic Analysis and Design Thinking for Educators” – Dr. Rose Marra, Professor, University of Missouri; Dr. Cindy Dudenhoffer, Associate Teaching Professor, University of Missouri – Room 217
  • “Leading in Difficult Times: Lessons Learned from Missouri Superintendents” – Beth Houf, Principal, Fulton 58 Public Schools; Dr. Grenita Lathan, Superintendent, Springfield Public Schools; Dr. Sarah Marriott, Superintendent, Boonville R-I School District; Dr. Jason Snodgrass, Superintendent, Fort Osage R-1 School District – Room 218

3:15 – 3:30 pm: Break

3:30 – 4:30 pm: Keynote – Cook Hall

  • “The Urgency of Now: The Attack on Public Education” – Heather Fleming, Founder, Missouri Equity Education Partnership (MoEEP)

4:30 – 5:00 pm: Reflection Activity & Parting Remarks – Cook Hall