The Heavy Lift: What Systemic, Continuous Improvement Means for Missouri Schools

The 2019 Hook Center Assembly, held December 11-12, 2019, was a great success!
View photos from the event.

2019 Presenters

NEW School Rules for Continuous Improvement

Anthony Kim headshot
Anthony Kim

Anthony Kim is a Corwin Press bestselling author, with publications including The New Team Habits, The New School Rules, and The Personalized Learning Playbook. His writing ranges from topics including the future of work, leadership and team motivation, improving the way we work, and innovation in systems-based approaches to organizations and school design. Anthony believes that how we work is the key determinant to the success of any organization.

In addition to his writing, Anthony is the founder and CEO of Education Elements, a trusted partner and consultant to over 1,000 schools nationwide. Anthony has been the founder of several companies across multiple industries, including online education, ecommerce, and concerts and events. 

You can connect with Anthony via Twitter and Instagram at @anthonx or subscribe to his newsletter at The newsletter provides inspiration, ideas, and practices on how to better lead teams in a rapidly changing world.

MU College of Education: Connecting with the K-12 Community

Kathryn Chval, MU College of Education Dean
Kathryn Chval

Kathryn Chval holds the Joanne H. Hook Dean’s Chair in Educational Renewal in the University of Missouri College of Education. Faculty and professional staff in the College of Education secure external funding through grants and contracts and work in every county in the state to enhance the lives of Missourians.

Kathryn is also a Professor of Mathematics Education. Her research focuses on effective preparation models and support structures for teachers, effective elementary mathematics teaching for English language learners, and curriculum standards and policies.

Prior to joining University of Missouri in 2003, Kathryn was the Acting Section Head for the Teacher Professional Continuum Program in the Division of Elementary, Secondary and Informal Science Division at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Washington D.C., where she oversaw a $56 million budget.

Driving Continuous Improvement with MSIP 6 Standards and Indicators

Chris Neale headshot photo
Chris Neale

Chris Neale has been Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Quality Schools at the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education since July 1, 2015.

Dr. Neale served as superintendent of the Gasconade County R-I Schools in Hermann, and has also worked in Houston R-I and Lebanon R-III school districts in Missouri.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Central Methodist College in Fayette, Mo., a master’s degree in education from Southwest Missouri State University, and education specialist and doctorate degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

High Impact Strategies for Changing Habits and Culture

Scott Spurgeon, Superintendent of Riverview Gardens School District
Scott Spurgeon

Scott Spurgeon is the Superintendent of Riverview Gardens School District. Dr. Spurgeon has become known for his leadership in the movements to help redefine North St. Louis County education and restore academic honor to the RGSD community.

Since Dr. Spurgeon’s arrival, the once struggling district has been named an Innovative District of the Year by the International Center for Leadership in Education in 2016 and 2018, received proclamations from the St. Louis County Board of Directors, was honored as the most improved district in 2015 by Governor Jay Nixon and has gained enough points on the last three Annual Report Cards (APR) to be classified as fully accredited for points. RGSD regained provisional accreditation on January 4, 2017 after nearly ten years of being classified as an unaccredited district and has retained that accreditation level for two consecutive years. Dr. Spurgeon has excited students, staff and parents with the phrase, “It’s a Great Day to be a Ram” and proud Rams are excited to work and be educated in RGSD.

Dr. Spurgeon’s experience includes fifteen years of senior level leadership in the positions of assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development in Northwest RI School District, associate superintendent for curriculum and school leadership and interim superintendent in Rockwood School District, and superintendent in Belleville High School District #201.  He has been an administrator at the elementary, middle and high school levels, including alternative education. Additionally, he has taught graduate courses for Lindenwood University.  Dr. Spurgeon has also been an educational consultant providing leadership training and professional development to more than 100 school and districts across America. 

Dr. Spurgeon earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from St. Louis University. Prior to Dr. Spurgeon’s career in education, he played professional baseball with the Houston Astros organization. He is a proud husband, father and grandfather.

Additional Assembly Highlights: Theory into Practice

Panel of Practitioners:  Continuous Improvement Lessons

  • Heath Oates, Superintendent, Rich Hill Public Schools
  • Travis Bracht, Superintendent, Affton Public Schools
  • Donald McCary, Executive Director of Planning and Development, Special School District of St. Louis County
  • Jacque Cowherd, Superintendent, Fulton Public Schools
  • Matt Goodman, Director of Research and Evaluation, Education Plus, St. Louis

Breakout sessions

NEW School Rules Follow-up Discussions:  Anthony Kim and Natalie Woods, Education Elements

How to Take Continuous Quality Improvement Strategies to the Classroom Level:  Jill White, Principal, and Classroom Teachers, Royal Heights Elementary School, Joplin

Using an Excellence Framework to Drive Improvement in a Mid-Size District:  Stan Stratton, Superintendent, Dunklin R-5 Schools and Craig Larson, DESE Area Supervisor

Implementing Design Thinking in Program Decision Making: Glenn Hancock, Director of Research, Evaluation and Assessment, Rockwood School District

Program Evaluation: Non-Instructional Departments and Performance Measures: Kendra Lau, Director of School Improvement, St. Joseph Public Schools

A Case Study: Hacking a Stagnant School District to Becoming a Community Flagship and Creating a Buzz: John Vandewalle, Founder and CEO, Lumen Touch

Registration Information

Hook Center Assembly 2019

The Heavy Lift: What Systemic, Continuous Improvement Means for Missouri Schools

The Sixth Hook Center Assembly on Continuous Quality Improvement will be December 11-12, 2019 at the Courtyard Marriott in Columbia. This is the only event focused on bringing continuous quality improvement through improvement science to educators in Missouri.

December 11, 2019:  Registration begins at 9:00 am with beverages; Sessions begin promptly at 9:30 am and run to 4:30 pm with lunch provided.   A networking reception will follow the presentations 4:30-6:00 pm.

December 12, 2019:  Breakfast from 8:00 am to 9:00 am; Sessions begin promptly at 9:00 am and will end at noon.

Registration fees:  $80.00/participant.

Registration Link:

Assembly Location and Lodging Suggestion:  Courtyard by Marriott, 3301 Lemone Industrial Blvd, Columbia, MO 65201, (573) 443-8000