Art McCoy opens speaker series, talks leadership, initiative in Jennings

UMSL Daily
Distinguished alumnus Art McCoy stopped by the ED Collabitat on South Campus to share anecdotes and wisdom garnered from his decades-long career in education. (Photo by Jami Hirsch)

“I lead with the notion that we are souls first, students second or souls first, staff members second. Whoever we are working with or for, it’s always souls first.”
These opening words from Art McCoy, as he spoke to a group of students and community members at the University of Missouri–St. Louis recently, brought about an immediate shift of energy in the room. This is something that probably happens often when McCoy is talking; people sit up straighter and lean in closer.
“Art is an exceptionally engaging leader and speaker,” said Assistant Professor James Shuls, who organized the College of Education Speaker Series that McCoy kicked off on Aug. 31. “You’ll know within moments of speaking with him that you’re talking to someone special.”
McCoy, who earned his PhD in education from UMSL, is a formidable force within the world of education both in St. Louis and across the country. His most recent appointment as the superintendent of the Jennings School District is only the latest in a long line of impressive and important career moves.
Since his earliest days as the youngest certified math teacher in the state of Missouri (through his time as the first African American superintendent in the Ferguson-Florissant school district), McCoy has been a true change maker when it comes to transforming educational environments for the better. He has served on countless local and national boards and councils, including as the education chair of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.
He’s also a published author and an adept fundraiser, helping to secure over $7 million for educational initiatives that support students in the St. Louis region and beyond. His latest honor comes from …

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