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Appointed board that runs St. Louis Public Schools needs a new member

Melanie Adams
Missouri History Museum

Updated at 4:45 p.m. with comments from Adams: Melanie Adams, one of the three original members of the Special Administrative Board that has run the St. Louis Public Schools since 2007, is leaving her job at the Missouri History Museum and her spot on the SAB.

Her successor on the board will be named by Mayor Francis Slay; his spokeswoman, Maggie Crane, said the search process is underway and will be completed as soon as possible.

Adams will be joining the Minnesota Historical Society on Oct. 10 as its senior director for guest experiences and educational services. She had served as managing director for community education and events at the museum in Forest Park.

In an interview Monday, Adams said she appreciated the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of students in St. Louis.

Asked about the board’s best accomplishment, Adams talked about the hiring of Kelvin Adams as the district’s superintendent in 2008.

“Most importantly, our No. 1 success was really hiring Dr. Adams. Because I think stable leadership is one of the things that has really gotten us this far.”

Melanie Adams and the superintendent are not related.

She said in the  interview that she wasn't sure whether she expected to be on the board for nine years when she was first appointed.

"Some days it feels like nine years, some days it doesn’t," she said. "It’s really hard to say, but over the last nine years, I’m really proud of a lot of things that we’ve been able to do."

Adams will attend her final SAB meeting this week.

The change comes as discussion has begun over whether, when and how control of the city schools may move back to an elected board. That process was set in motion by the state school board, whose members have noted that the conditions that required the SAB in the first place are no longer present.

But those transition talks have not been smooth.

The group discussing the possible transition is made up of three members of the elected board, two members of the state board and one member of the SAB, President Rick Sullivan. The structure was devised so that none of the three boards involved would have a quorum present and the transition talks could be conducted in private.

But last week, when the group was scheduled to have its second meeting, a fourth member of the elected board who had not been chosen by his peers to take part, Bill Monroe, showed up anyway. His presence would have required the meeting to be open. Rather than proceed, the group adjourned; no new date has been set for another session.

After the abortive meeting ended, the state board members who were present indicated that infighting on the elected board could derail the whole process, since one of the reasons the SAB was put in place originally was a dysfunctional elected board.

Three seats on the elected board will be up for election in April.

Follow Dale on Twitter: @dalesinger

Dale Singer began his career in professional journalism in 1969 by talking his way into a summer vacation replacement job at the now-defunct United Press International bureau in St. Louis; he later joined UPI full-time in 1972. Eight years later, he moved to the Post-Dispatch, where for the next 28-plus years he was a business reporter and editor, a Metro reporter specializing in education, assistant editor of the Editorial Page for 10 years and finally news editor of the newspaper's website. In September of 2008, he joined the staff of the Beacon, where he reported primarily on education. In addition to practicing journalism, Dale has been an adjunct professor at University College at Washington U. He and his wife live in west St. Louis County with their spoiled Bichon, Teddy. They have two adult daughters, who have followed them into the word business as a communications manager and a website editor, and three grandchildren. Dale reported for St. Louis Public Radio from 2013 to 2016.