St. Louis College Prep Board President Steve Singer said he is excited to help lead the school into the future.
Singer was elected as board president in January after having served on the board for three years, but he is no stranger to the intricacies of education.
Singer has seen his three daughters succeed in area schools and served for nine years on the Clayton School District Board of Education.
That experience eventually lead him to his current position at St. Louis College Prep.
“Over the years, I became friends with one of the teachers who taught my daughters, Bill Mendelsohn,” said Singer, noting that Mendelsohn is now the UMSL Director of Charter Schools and Partnerships. “He mentioned that he had some charter schools looking for board members, and after looking at several of them I was excited by what St. Louis College Prep was doing and decided to join their board.”
Singer said that he is proud of the tremendous progress he has seen the board make over the past three years.
“We have really made some very significant changes during that time,” said Singer. “The first major change is that we were able to move to much better building for the school’s future. When I came on the board and Executive Director Mike Malone told us that we needed to buy a building I could not believe we were going to do that, but we did.”
Singer said he is also very proud of the way the board itself has improved over the past three years.
“When I came on we would only have two to three people show up to the board meeting,” he said. “There was no oversight. There were no functioning committees. We have really made a tremendous turnaround in that.”
Similarly, Singer said he was excited to see how the school’s academic leadership team has grown and improved in recent years.
“I am really pleased with the progress that we have made in building a first rate, stable group of school leaders,” he said. “Prior to Principal Lauren Chaney coming on board, we went through a lot of principals. No progress in education can happen when your school leadership is turning around like that.”
Singer said that stabilizing the leadership had also contributed to greater teacher retention at the school.
“We have also made tremendous progress on finances,” added Singer, noting that the board was focused on building surpluses to cover future expenses. “Most public schools have a bonding authority where they can issues debt to pay for buying and building new buildings or for major maintenance and technology upgrades. We do not have that authority so we have to take money from our operating budget and develop a surplus so we can cover debt service as well as having money for contingencies. Financially, you cannot compare where we are today to where we were just a year ago, let alone three years ago.”
But even with all the progress the school has made in recent years, Singer said he is excited to be leading the board as it helps the school make even greater improvements in the years to come.
“We have a lot of positive things to happy with and still a lot of challenges to address,” said Singer. “The big challenge now is that we have to translate those successes into test scores and greater evidence of getting our kids up to grade level.”
The board is in the middle of a planning process to refocus our efforts on truly making SCP a college prep school. We are working on how we develop a program and all of its intricacies that really brings the kids in and makes them ready for college by bringing them up to and above grade level by the time they are seniors. That is the main focus of the board and the administration.”
Singer said other key areas of focus included growing development and fundraising efforts for the school and increasing the size of the board.
“We also would love to get more parental involvement in the school,” added Singer. “We would love to see an active parent teacher organization. That would be a big plus.”
When Singer is not helping St. Louis College Prep, he serves asPresident of RDR Investments LLC, a consumer collections database company. He has a BA and MA in Economics from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.