Message From the CEO

Melissa Randol
Chief Executive Officer

Thank you for visiting the FutureBuilders website. As the non-profit education foundation of the Missouri School Boards’ Association it is our goal to celebrate the successes of our public schools and to recognize the achievements of both students and school leaders.

We believe that public education is the foundation of our democracy and that it is imperative that we counter the negative stereotyping of public schools.

MSBA FutureBuilders’ mission is to spread the news about the good things going on day in and day out in Missouri’s public schools. Our unofficial motto is “Research, not rhetoric” and we use that as our model as we help tell the true story of the successes of our public schools.

MSBA FutureBuilders Foundation Activities

John T. Belcher Scholarship Award

MSBA FutureBuilders established the scholarship program in memory of John T. Belcher, who was instrumental in developing innovative financing programs for Missouri school districts. The learning environment for thousands of Missouri’s public school students improved as a result of his work.

A $1000 annual scholarship is awarded to a student in each of MSBA’s 17 regions. Applicants are judged on the basis of academic performance, extracurricular activities and the quality of an essay. A statewide winner is selected from this group of regional winners and awarded an additional $1500. Scroll below to read the essays from each region.

How can a student apply for a Belcher scholarship?

The school board of each MSBA member district is eligible to nominate one high school senior to apply. The local board of education should select their applicant based on academic achievement and leadership abilities; need may also be considered. After the district applicant is chosen the student/guidance office should contact Matt O’brien for a link to the online application and form during the application period October through January. The applicant and their guidance counselor will receive confirmation and further instructions within two working days of submission. The student will need to obtain a transcript and complete the essay, if not already done.

This application and Checklist is for Step 1 of the selection process. It is intended to be used so that each member district of MSBA will have aid in selecting one candidate. Once the district selects their candidate, please contact Matt O’Brien to gain access to the online fillable application.

View the 2019 Belcher Essay Regional Winner Essays

Matt O’Brien
573.445.9920 ext. 347

Early Childhood Education Program of the Year Award

The Early Childhood Education Program of the Year Award recognizes outstanding early childhood education programs in Missouri. We want to celebrate YOU and your efforts in providing early childhood education, regardless of school size. Awards are now given in three categories: Small, Midsize and Large districts.
CONTINUING THIS YEAR: District finalists are asked to produce a ten minute video presentation of their Early Childhood Education program to be shown at Annual Conference. If district finalists do not have the resources to create such a program, MSBA may offer to assist as part of our Good News in Public Schools effort.  The application period for the 2019 award is now closed.

FutureBuilders Early Childhood Education Program of the Year Previous Winners

2018: Small – Everton R-II; Midsize – Orchard Farm R-V; Large – Mehlville R-IX

2017: Small – Van Buren R-I; Midsize – Farmington R-VII; Large – Independence 30

2016: 1st – Springfield Public Schools; 2nd – Mehlville R-IX; 3rd – Raytown C-2

2015: 1st – Northwest R-I; 2nd – Jefferson City Public Schools; 3rd – Ozark R-VI

2014: 1st – Belton 124; 2nd – Mehlville R-IX; 3rd – Ava R-I

2013: 1st – Nixa Public Schools; 2nd – Jefferson City Public Schools; 3rd – Kirksville R- III

2012: 1st – Pattonville R-III; 2nd – Nixa Public Schools; 3rd – Park Hill

2011: 1st – Francis Howell R-III; 2nd – Lee’s Summit R-VIII; 3rd – Belton 124

2010: 1st – Webster Groves; 2nd – Maplewood-Richmond Heights; 3rd – Nixa Public Schools

Legacy of Leadership Awards

The Legacy of Leadership Awards are designed to honor current and former Missouri school board members who have distinguished themselves through community service and advocacy for public education. Honorees are outstanding Missourians who have given countless hours for the betterment of their communities and to advocate for the students in our public schools. These awards are sponsored by FutureBuilders, the non-profit foundation of the Missouri School Boards’ Association.

The Carter Ward Excellence in Advocacy Award

The Carter D. Ward Excellence in Advocacy Award is designed to recognize and honor an individual board member who exhibits exemplary leadership skills in the area of public education advocacy. Nominees should possess a documented history of achievement in local, statewide or national advocacy on behalf of Missouri’s public school students. Honorees serve as shining examples of effective advocacy and whose impressive efforts have helped create and promote substantial and sustainable practices that enhance student learning opportunities in Missouri’s pre-K-12 education programs. The award is named for former Missouri School Boards’ Association Executive Director Dr. Carter D. Ward, whose career epitomized effective advocacy for public education.  The nomination period for the 2019 Carter D. Ward Excellence in Advocacy Award for 2019 is now closed.

Past Winners of the Carter D. Ward Advocacy Award

2018 – Ann Franklin, Independence

The Paul Morris Community Service Award

The Paul Morris Community Service Award was established to recognize and honor an individual school board member from Missouri, past or present, who has shown a sincere and outstanding commitment to community service. The award is named in honor of Paul Morris, a past president of the Missouri School Boards’ Association, who devoted countless hours to strengthening his community and improving its schools through his volunteer work. An individual award winner will be selected from nominations received by the FutureBuilders’ Board of Directors and is honored at the MSBA Annual Conference held each fall. The nomination period for the 2019 Paul Morris Community Service Award for 2019 is now closed.

Past Winners of the Paul Morris Award

2018 – Terry Ward, North Kansas City 74

2017 – Lisa Knutzen, Carl Junction

2016 – Gerry Lee, Springfield Public Schools

2015 – Jill Esry, Independence

2014 – Dave Green, Malden R-I

2013 – Robin Krause, Knob Noster R-VIII

2012 – Roseann Bentley, Springfield R-XII

2011 – Ann Gibbons, Hazelwood

2010 – Roy Burnside, Festus R-VI

2009 – John Holcomb, Trenton R-IX

Register Now for the 2019 Tournament!

2019 MSBA FutureBuilders Golf Tournament

Proceeds from the participation and generosity of players and sponsors help fund the MSBA’s FutureBuilders Foundation. FutureBuilders provides 18 annual John T. Belcher Memorial Scholarships which are awarded to high school seniors from all areas of Missouri, helping our future leaders achieve their dream of a college education. FutureBuilders also supports and promotes the importance of community leadership, education advocacy and early childhood education.

For more information about the golf tournament, contact Todd Smith 573-445-9920 ext. 310,

2019 John Belcher Scholarship Essay Prompt:

Students were asked to submit an essay to the following question: What advice would you give to an incoming 9th grader at your high school to help them maximize their school experience?

Emerson Cochran
Carthage School District
Region 9

One struggle that I personally have faced these past few years is choosing a career path. This is often a self-initiated pursuit; however, I think it would be beneficial to everyone if our school offered more career exploration opportunities.

Madison Straatmann
Washington School District
Region 12 

Learning and gaining knowledge is such an exciting thing, a blessing that we are fortunate to have…students must feel like the classes that require hours of homework and late night study sessions are worth the time and effort.