Evangel Profile

Dr. Gordon Pace (’78): Nationally recognized Ozark Public Schools superintendent

February 11, 2010


Dr. Gordon Pace did not  always know that he wanted to be a teacher. When he first decided to attend  Evangel University, he planned to study pre-med. However, upon entering his  sophomore year, he realized that the medical field was not his true passion and  headed on the path toward research in Evangel’s Biology and Chemistry programs.

During his senior year at  Evangel, he took an education class for fun and also served as a student aid in  a Springfield junior high, which sparked a newfound interest — education.

“Looking back, I think that experience was so  positive that it helped me realize that education and teaching might be  something to consider, even though it had not been part of my college plan,”  says Pace.

During his time at  Evangel, he had the opportunity to run cross-country and participate in  evangelistic outreaches as a part of the campus ministry organization SCOPE. He  also met his wife, Jeannine (Carr), during an open house between dorms. Jeannine  was an elementary education major, and they dated throughout their sophomore,  junior and senior years.

Pace graduated from  Evangel in 1978, completing a degree in Biology. After graduation, he felt  confirmation that life science research was not for him and was inspired by his  wife’s vocation as a teacher to return to school and study education.

He went on to pursue his  Master of Arts from Western Michigan University and his Doctor of Education  from the University of Missouri Columbia.

Since 2005, Dr. Pace has  served as the superintendent of Ozark Public Schools. He has worked hard to  move the district ahead in curriculum and instructional technology.

Dr. Pace attended the 2009  Teacher Leader Institute and North American Leadership Academy in Washington  D.C., where he received, on June 12, the Reading Recovery Teacher Leader Award.

“I was surprised and honored to receive the Reading  Recovery Award, since you have to be nominated by teachers and administrators  from your district to be considered,” Pace said.

The Award recognizes  people who are committed to expanding Reading Recovery and maintaining its high  standards. Nominees are judged based on the documentation  supporting that the nominee is committed to expanding Reading Recovery and  maintaining its high standards, and that the nominee has made significant  contributions to Reading Recovery implementation beyond the local level.

“The experience of going to Washington D.C. for the  National Conference was a highlight of my career,” Pace said. “I was given the  opportunity to address the convention during the award ceremony, which was an  outstanding experience!”

Prior to his time in Ozark, Dr. Pace served as superintendent  of Reeds Spring School District. He was a member of the administrative team for  Springfield Public Schools and served as president of Missouri Association of  School Administrators Southwest Region. He has also taught graduate and  doctoral school administration classes for Evangel University and Lindenwood University.

“In a public school setting, you have to let your  faith be known by your works and your life, not necessarily preaching,” Pace said.  “I believe that your faith guides your decision-making, your leadership style,  how you deal with people in an ethical and respectful manner, and the care you  have for others, especially the students in your care.”

Dr. Pace feels that Evangel has had a great impact  on his life, from something as simple as learning to do his own laundry, the  self-discipline from leaving home and having to make your own decisions, to the  Christ-centered teaching and the excellent faculty who served as great mentors.

Dr. Pace’s fondest  memories of Evangel are of sitting around the cafeteria table after meals with  friends from Krause, participating in intramurals, and having a built-in set of  friends while living in the dorms. He also enjoyed walking to classes through  the enclosed walkways between the barracks — especially during bad weather — and  huddling next to a radiator in class trying to stay warm while taking notes.   Regarding his time at Evangel, Pace feels that there  was a great variety of spiritual guidance that forced him to think things  through on his own, come to terms with what he personally believed, and helped  him to grow as an individual.

“Some of the guidance was the same as I had been  taught in my father’s church, some a bit different and some quite challenging  to my beliefs,” Pace said. “Evangel  gave me a solid Christian foundation that carries through my vocational  journeys in terms of ethical behavior, treatment and respect for others, and  compassion for children in schools.”

The Paces have been married for 31 years. They  reside in Ozark, Mo., and attend James River Assembly of God. Their two  children, Jennifer and Suzanne, are Evangel alumnae.

“We ended up returning  to Southwest Missouri, after several years in Michigan, mostly due to the great  experience we both had at Evangel in our undergraduate years,” Pace said.

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