Dr. Aaron Cornman, superintendent of schools for the Pierce City R-6 School District, discussed his work at this week's meeting of the Monett Kiwanis Club.
Cornman, who was introduced by program chairperson Cathy Lewis, is in his first year as superintendent in Pierce City. Education represents a change in career paths for the graduate of Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Cornman originally trained as a bank loan officer and later became an ordained minister.
Cornman began his 14-year education career teaching special needs students. He completed his doctorate in education from St. Louis University and moved into administration as a principal and special education director in southwest Missouri, beginning in 2007. His last position before coming to Pierce City was superintendent with the Walnut Grove School District.
The big project presently underway in the Pierce City School District is the $3.2 million construction of a new middle school and a new vocational agriculture complex. Cornman said the new middle school replaces the 90-year-old current building and will be "children friendly."
Watching work by Rich Kramer Construction Company on the building reminded Cornman of the education process. The first steps, including dirtwork, foundation construction and laying the steel reinforcement, represents establishing a base for children. Upon that bedrock, all other education stands, he said.
The quality of a school starts from the bottom up, Cornman said. He works by example and tries to directly lead employees, providing a vision for excellence. The Kiwanis motto of "We Build" echoes Cornman's education philosophy of changing children one at a time.
Cornman has been married to his wife, Leigh Ann, a fellow educator who teaches at Pierce City Central Elementary School, for 17 years. They have three children. The family lives in the Jolly Mill community.
In club news, Dayton Mackey asked for volunteers to join him in lining up the Monett Chamber of Commerce's Christmas parade on Saturday. Participating Kiwanians will meet at the First United Methodist Church for breakfast at 7 a.m. on Saturday then go to work positioning parade entries at 8 a.m.