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SOURCE Baldrige Foundation
Larry and Brenda Potterfield Offer Gift Challenge to Improve the Quality of Education
COLUMBIA, Mo., Oct. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Seeking to improve public education in Missouri, Larry and Brenda Potterfield are donating $1 million to the first public school district in the state to win a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award which recognizes organizations for achieving performance excellence. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, as well as school administrators and Missouri School Boards' Association (MSBA) members, applaud their generous gift.
Larry Potterfield said he and his wife are making the donation because they want to help improve public education in Missouri. "This is for the children," he said. "We want to impact the educational system, to make the school districts more accountable, to better prepare and educate the next generation so that our nation can continue to compete in the global marketplace."
The gift challenge will reinforce current efforts for measurable educational improvements among Missouri's 520 school districts as they strive to achieve "role model status," as defined by the Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence. Each year, the President of the United States honors American organizations in business, health care, education, non-profit, and government that win a Baldrige Award, the nation's only award for performance excellence.
"The million dollar unrestricted gift will be an obvious benefit to the school district that demonstrates outstanding performance," said Potterfield, who is CEO of Midway USA. "The school district will receive tremendous recognition for winning the Baldrige Award. Most importantly, the winner will have to demonstrate an improvement in educational outcomes because the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence are results-driven."
The $1 million gift will be stewarded by the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award until it is awarded.
"Outstanding public schools require strong support at every level: hard work by students, engagement by parents, dedication by teachers and support from community and business leaders," Gov. Nixon said. "This challenge is a great testament to the Potterfields' longtime commitment to supporting and improving public education in Missouri, which is more important than ever to growing our economy and creating jobs."
The Potterfields' official announcement will be made at the 2013 MSBA Annual Conference on Saturday at the Lake of the Ozarks. The conference is held in cooperation with the Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA). "We're delighted Larry and Brenda Potterfield chose the MSBA Annual Conference to announce their gift," said Dr. Carter Ward, the MSBA executive director. "MSBA strongly supports school districts interested in utilizing the Baldrige Criteria to create a culture of continuous improvement ultimately aimed at providing the finest possible education for the students in our public schools."
Dr. P. George Benson, chair of the Board of Directors of the Baldrige Foundation, called it "gratifying" for the Potterfields to link their donation to the Baldrige National Award for Performance Excellence.
"It demonstrates the faith and confidence that Larry and Brenda Potterfield have in the Baldrige Program," Dr. Benson said. "For 25 years, we helped organizations in the public and private sectors reach their peak level of effectiveness, and honored the very best with a Baldrige Award. With their generous donation, the Potterfields are challenging Missouri school districts to provide a better education to their students."
School districts must reach the highest level in the Missouri Quality Award, the state Baldrige-based program, to apply to the National Baldrige Performance Excellence Award Program. School districts will need to demonstrate performance results that are national benchmarks and better than their peer groups at comparably-sized school districts across the country. In so doing, they will be improving their budget and operations, as well as the education they provide in the classrooms.
"Schools and districts interested in pursuing a Baldrige award can access resources through the recently launched Missouri Network for Educational Improvement (MNEI)," says Daniel L. Clay, dean of the University of the Missouri College of Education. "The network will help schools and districts strategically coordinate continuous improvement efforts." The MNEI is led by the Hook Center at the University of Missouri College of Education, in partnership with MSBA, MASA and districts around the state.
Anne L. Bryant, who sits on the board of the Baldrige Foundation and is a former executive director of the National School Boards Association, said that Larry and Brenda Potterfield's million dollar challenge has called upon the entire state of Missouri to "show the way" by encouraging every school district across the state to consider taking up the Baldrige quality and excellence program.
"Like all Baldrige Award winners, a school district that goes through the process is demonstrating to its students, faculty, staff, parents and entire community that it wants to be the best," Bryant said. "I watched my neighboring district, The Montgomery County Public Schools (MD) go through the process and reach the national award with such pride and excitement. It reinforced to the community and the entire state that this public school district could be an example for all."
Moreover, Bryant said that the Baldrige community is "thrilled by the Potterfield's generosity but, even more importantly, by their foresight to focus on education...which indeed is the cornerstone of a state's economy and future."
The Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award
The Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award was created to provide the private sector a means of supporting the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. As a change agent advocating performance excellence, the Baldrige Program strives to educate and assist businesses and non-profits in achieving productivity goals through efficient and sustainable strategies. The implementation of the Criteria for Performance Excellence's tenets serves as a model for companies across six sectors - manufacturing, service, small business, education, health care, and nonprofit - to increase their competitiveness in the U.S. and global economy. Its esteemed National Quality Award, named after former Secretary of Commerce Malcom Baldrige and founded by Congress in 1987, honors the companies that act as role models of efficacy realized through the Baldrige Program. For more information about the Baldrige Foundation, visit www.baldrigepe.org/foundation.
Michael K. Frisby
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