Partners in Education Outstanding Partnership Award

Outstanding Partnership Award Winner

Each year the Partners in Education Committee asks the Chamber’s business and school partnerships to share the highlights of their working relationships.  Based on the applications, the Committee selects a partnership that displays creativity, dedication and commitment to the students and each other. 

Congratulations to the Outstanding Partnership Award recipients and thank you to all our PIE partners for truly making a difference in our schools and community.

The 2020 Outstanding Partnership Award presented to business-education partners Missouri River Regional Library and Belair Elementary School. Congratulations!

Pictured front row (l to r): Lisa Walk, Belair Kindergarten Teacher; Emily Roberts, Belair Kindergarten Teacher; Jennifer Bearden, Belair Librarian; Melissa Simpson, Belair Kindergarten Teacher.  Back row (l to r): Donna Loehner, MRRL Children's Programming Associate; Claudia Cook, MRRL Director; Angie Bayne, MRRL Children's Services/Collection Development Manager; Elizabeth Milhollin, Belair Principal; Eric Lyon, MRRL Children's Programming Coordinator; and Alesha Schlueter, Belair Kindergarten Teacher.

Missouri River Regional Library and Belair Elementary School were recently presented with the Chamber’s 2020 Partners in Education (PIE) Outstanding Partnership Award.  This award recognizes the business-school partnership that exemplifies the goals of the program.

This strong partnership was selected for the many ways in which the kindergarten students reading readiness skills are enhanced.  

Each month, MRRL staff members Donna Loehner or Eric Lyon read to each of the Belair four kindergarten classrooms.  They choose books that are age-appropriate and usually have a seasonal theme to them.  Eric Lyon, MRRL Children’s Programming Coordinator, comments “The joy of reading with kindergarten classes is the opportunity for us to share more complex stories than we normally do each week at preschool storytimes. Several of the children we see in the classrooms are former preschool storytime participants, so it's nice to witness their progression and continue to be a part of it”.  

Normally, the kindergarten classes visit the public library for a tour and combined storytime session. This provides familiarity with the library's layout and offerings, helps students to be more comfortable with the library, and to see it as a dynamic space rather than just a house for books. The goal is for students to see that reading is enjoyable and not simply a task. 

Beyond storytimes, MRRL staff participate in other school events, in particular Belair’s Open House Night and Literacy Night.  These events provide an opportunity for the library staff to offer stories for children and meet parents to highlight all the activities the public library offers, as well as help them sign-up for library cards.  Students have also benefited from visiting the bookmobile.

The Principal at Belair, Mrs. Elizabeth Milhollin, comments; “Our district focus is to have 100% of students reading at or above grade level. Our partnership with Missouri River Regional Library supports this goal for our students in many ways. We enjoy our partnership with MRRL! They are all about helping students love reading!”

Thank you to all our Partners In Education school-business partners for truly making a difference in our schools and our community.

Congratulations to the Missouri River Regional Library and Belair Elementary School.  Thank you for being true Partners in Education.



Previous Years Recipients 

2018 - C&S Business Services, Inc. and Mid-Mo Adult Learning Center

2017 - First Baptist Church and South Elementary School
Alpla of Jefferson City and Lewis & Clark Middle School


2016 - Bartlett & West and Jefferson City High School
First Christian Church - Disciples of Christ and East Elementary School  


2015 - Mid America Bank - Holts Summit and Callaway Hills Elementary School


2014 - River Region Credit Union and Cedar Hill Elementary School 


2013 - William Woods Graduate Studies - Jefferson City Campus and Jefferson City Academic Campus



2012 - Scholastic Inc. and Southwest Early Childhood Center


2011 - Learfield Communications and West Elementary School


2010 - Modine Manufacturing and Thomas Jefferson Middle School
Missouri Department of Conservation
and Lewis & Clark Middle School


2009 - Panera Bread of Jefferson City and Cedar Hill Elementary


2008 -  Alpla of Jefferson City and Lewis & Clark Middle School 
Missouri Department of Transportation and Thomas Jefferson Middle School



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