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John Criswell announces run for Columbia Public School Board

Columbia Public Schools Policy Committee member John Criswell announced his candidacy for the Columbia School Board on Facebook on Thursday.

He joins Suzette Waters and incumbent Blake Willoughby in the slate for the April 6 election.

Board member Della Streaty-Wilhoit encouraged Criswell, who holds a doctorate in educational leadership and public policy from MU, to run for the board, he said. The move from the Policy Committee to the School Board attracts Criswell because he wants to work on issues that directly affect students.

Criswell has a son who graduated from Battle High School and a daughter who will start at Battle next year. He said he felt motivated to join the Policy Committee because as his children got older, the opportunities for him to volunteer with their education tapered off.

“I think in every study that I’ve read on education, you know, when parents are plugged in and they’re doing their part and they’re encouraging their kids, kids thrive,” Criswell said. “And that was kind of my duty as a parent — to make sure that was something I could take care of.”

One of Criswell’s goals, if he is elected to the school board, is to create policies that treat parents as central to their children’s education so that they can provide that support.

“Children thrive when parents and teachers work together to build a great student and a great scholar,” Criswell said.

Filing is open until Dec. 28. Candidates can file at the Aslin Administration Building, 1818 W. Worley St.