Quick Links
Skip to main contentSkip to navigation

Missouri Association of School Administrators

Awards Information


Ajax Loading Image


2020 MASA "Friends of Education Award" Recipients

The following individuals and groups make up the 2020 MASA "Friends of Education" Award recipients.  The Friend of Education Award is presented annually to recognize eight non-educators, one from each of the eight MASA Districts.  The award recognizes individuals for his or her contribution to education locally or statewide. The recipient must currently be a non-educator, although they may have been an educator in the past.

The recipients were to be recognized at the 2020 MASA Awards Banquet which was canceled as a precautionary step during the COVID-19 virus pandemic.  We have listed the recipients, the MASA district that nominated them, and a summary of their nomination letters.


Denise Cross, CEO, Cornerstones of Care (Greater Kansas City)

"Cornerstones of Care have worked with the Grandview Schools for many years in a variety of student-centered ways.  The partnership has provided students with counseling, social-emotional help and mental health assistance.  Furthermore, they have provided mental health screenings and established a social work internship program.  Cornerstones for Care’s willingness to be innovative in their approach to providing services to our students and families could serve as a model for other districts as they face similar challenges."


Gerald Ebker  (South Central)                              

"Gerald Ebkar is a long-time supporter of the Owensville and Hermann Schools.  Several years ago, Mr. Ebkar established the Gasconade County Science and Math Scholarship.  The scholarship goes to the Owensville or Hermann high school senior who scores the highest on a special assessment test developed for the scholarship.  This is the tenth year for the program."


Rep. Karla Eslinger   (Southwest)                        

"By consistently making her decisions on what is best for students, Dr. Eslinger dependably looks for ways for local school districts to effectively serve their students.  Eslinger has had a life-long commitment to educating and advocating for children across Missouri and beyond.  She has served as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent.  She served as assistant commissioner for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and is currently a state representative for the 155th District."


Senator Dan Hegeman  (Northwest)

"The Northwest MASA District is pleased to recognize Senator Dan Hegeman as our 2020 Friend of Education.  Sen. Hegeman represents the 12th Senatorial District in Northwest Missouri.  He is part owner of a six-generation family farm. Sen. Hegeman has a history of supporting public education both during his time as a state representative and now as a senator."


Emily Omohundro  (Northeast)

"The Northeast MASA District is pleased to recognize Emily Omohundro as our 2020 Friend of Education.  Not only does Emily provide excellent legal advice to our members, but she also is personally involved in public education as a member of the Fulton School District Board of Education.  Emily is valued for her counsel and her collaborative style of problem-solving with her clients.  Emily has stated that it is the amazing educators who have touched her life that lead her to serve public education with passion."

Sen. Jill Schupp    (Greater St. Louis )                            

"The Greater St. Louis MASA District is pleased to honor Senator Jill Schupp as our 2020 Friend of Education.  Sen. Schupp represents the 24th Senatorial district and has been a steadfast supporter of public education.  Sen. Schupp served as a classroom teacher before going on to the business world.  She previously served on the Ladue School District Board of Education and remains involved as a community volunteer, including work on the Children’s Trust Fund Board.  Sen. Schupp focuses her efforts on protecting and enhancing the health and safety of Missouri’s children and families."


Scott & Penny Williams, Southeast Special Olympics (Southeast)

"The Southeast MASA District is pleased to recognize Scott and Penny Williams as our Friends of Education. Both Scott and Penny have such loving and giving hearts.  They have passionately and tirelessly served the special education community, many of whom are our students.  What makes Scott and Penny so special is that they seem to know everyone and they are great at connecting people – all for a great cause."


John Zitelman (West Central)

John Zitelman has a servant’s attitude towards his community and his schools.  Zitelman has served on the Sante Fe R-10 School Board for more than two decades.  He is active in his community as part of the Alma Fire District, the Lions club, and Rotary.  For his dedication to public education, the West Central MASA District congratulate John Zitelman.


Press Releases for Friends of Education

Cross Friend of Education.pdf

Ebker Friend of Education.pdf

Eslinger Friend of Education.pdf

Hageman Friend of Education.pdf

Omohundro Friend of Education.pdf

Schupp Friend of Education.pdf

Williams Friend of Education.pdf

Zitelman Friend of Education.pdf