Waters and Willoughby win seats on Columbia Board of Education



Suzette Waters and incumbent Blake Willoughby won seats on the Columbia Board of Education with 100% of the constituency reports. Waters received 12,547 votes and Willoughby received 11,277 votes. Third place, Andrea Lisenby, got 9,493 votes.

Waters and Willoughby will each serve a three-year term.

Blake Willoughby

Blake Willoughby is the only one of four candidates currently serving on the Columbia Board of Education and he is seeking re-election for his second term.

Willoughby was elected at age 25 in 2019 as the youngest person to serve on the school board. He is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri where he teaches future educators. Willoughby also sits on several town councils.

He is in favor of issuing $80 million bonds and raising the salary of beginning teachers to $40,000 a year.

Suzette Waters

Suzette Waters is an alumnus of Columbia Public Schools and her children are or have been students in the district.

Waters has resided in Colombia for 34 years. She is a dental hygienist, but says her side job is volunteering at schools.

The platform outlined on its campaign website includes support for teachers, encouraging student achievement and open communication with the community.

Waters also supports the $80 million bond issue and raising teachers’ starting salaries to $40,000 a year.

Adam Burk

Adam Burks is one of three newcomers to the race and has criticized CPS administrators.

Burks is from Harrisburg and graduated from Columbia College. He volunteers for the Boone County Fire Protection District, where he is a captain and fire station superintendent. Burks is also the Head of Safety/Security for Midway USA where he works on the company’s COVID-19 response.

Burks currently has four children at CPS and wants to work more with teacher/community relations. “We encountered irresponsible and reckless administrators who appear to be doing everything possible to undermine and ignore CPS parents and teachers.”

Burks says he supports the $80 million bond issue and believes teachers should have a starting salary of at least $40,000 a year.

Andrea Lisenby

Andrea Lisenby is a newcomer looking for a place on the school board. She is a mother of three, with two children at CPS, and wants to make counseling more accessible to the public.

Linsenby has been a Columbia resident for 14 years and says she has a strong background in science and leadership. She says “the first step is for board members to listen and learn.”

Lisenby says she will vote “yes” to back the $80 million bond issue and start paying teachers $40,000 a year.


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