Outstanding Alumni Award
Chief Judge Don E. Burrell
Family: Wife, Denise. Son, Brooks; daughter, Claire.
Education: Greenwood Laboratory School, 1979; B.S. Finance, 1983, Southwest Missouri State University; J.D., 1991, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Current position: Chief Judge, Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District
1. What did it mean to you to be chosen as an award recipient?
It brought back a flood of fond memories of my days at Greenwood, and it left me with a great sense of gratitude for an institution that played a major role in bringing about any success I may have been able to achieve.
2. You are currently Chief Judge with the Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District. Talk about that position and your greatest challenge and reward.
The position of Chief is purely administrative, although to a certain extent the title makes you the public face of the court during your term. The greatest challenge has been living up to the expectations that have been generated by my predecessors in the office. I am blessed to serve with some of the most intelligent, generous and hard-working individuals I have ever known.
3. You practiced law for seven years before you were elected Circuit Judge for the 31st Judicial Circuit (Greene Co.) in 1998, followed by your appointment to the Court of Appeals in 2008. Why did you choose this career field?
My father was a lawyer and a judge, and he was someone I greatly admired and respected. He also truly seemed to enjoy his work and to gain a great deal of satisfaction from it. Those things were all attractive to me.
4. What do you consider to be your most important professional accomplishment?
To have done my duty in seeing that every litigant before me, without regard to their intelligence, their background or their station in life, has been treated fairly and impartially in having their case resolved in accordance with the requirements of the law.
5. You were very active as a student at Greenwood. How do you feel Greenwood helped you prepare for your future career?
It gave me the opportunity to be taught by some of the most highly skilled teachers available; it gave me the opportunity to be with a relatively small number of classmates who became like family members to me; and it gave me the confidence and ability to succeed at the University level and beyond.
Outstanding Young Alumni Award
Family: Wife, Sarah. Son, Zach; daughters, Emma, Leticia, Anna, Isabella, Leta, Sophia, Grace and Ruth.
Education: Greenwood Laboratory School, 1994; B.A. History, 2000, University of the Ozarks.
Current position: Owner, Millsap Farms
Family: Wife, Melissa. Daughter, Bela; son, Owen.
Education: Greenwood Laboratory School, 1998.
Current position: Owner, Urban Roots Farm
Amanda Millsap Owen
Family: Husband, Ryan. Son, Andrew.
Education: Greenwood Laboratory School, 1999; B.S. Religion, 2003, Drury University; M.T.S., 2006, Vanderbilt University.
Current position: Owner, Homegrown Food
This award is given to three siblings with one thing in common- a focus on raising awareness of the importance of healthy eating and sustainable food. Curtis, Adam and Amanda are dedicated to educating the people of southwest Missouri about the benefits of locally-sourced food. The trio grew up in a farming family and share fond memories of working in the family garden and visiting their grandparents’ farm. At the heart of what the Millsaps do is a concern for the environment, love of community and priority placed on quality family time. Curtis, Adam and Amanda truly demonstrate Civitas Discento, Citizenship through Learning, and they share their learning with so many!
Curtis Millsap graduated from the University of the Ozarks, Clarksville, Ark., with a Bachelor of Arts in History. He met his wife, Sarah, on a Wilderness First Responder Course in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Curtis taught in a gifted program at a non-conventional school in Taos, New Mexico before returning to the Springfield area. He then supported his family for several years working in the construction field until he and Sarah bought a farm north of Springfield and began a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. A CSA allows members, who pay a fee, to receive weekly shares of food for a season. Members also help with the production and harvesting of the food raised. Millsap Farms is well known at the Springfield Area Farmer’s markets for their organic produce. Curtis has also shared his love of gardening with students, including those at Pleasant View School. His work has been highlighted in the Springfield News-Leader on numerous occasions.
Adam Millsap and his wife, Melissa, own and operate Urban Roots Farm, which strives to provide local food to people of all income levels. Recognizing the convenience of living in town, the couple bought land in 2012 directly behind their home, which included 1 ½ acres and apartments. Urban Roots is in production all four seasons of the year and participates in Community Supported Agriculture as well. Produce from the farm is sold at the Farmers Market of the Ozarks and can also be found at retail stores such as Homegrown Food and Mama Jeans, as well as local restaurants. Adam and Melissa are passionate about educating and providing instruction to the community on the importance of growing natural food locally. They are founders of Springfield Urban Agriculture Coalition (SUAC), the organization responsible for the “DIRT Project-Digging in R-12” that has planted schoolyard gardens at nine Springfield Public Schools to promote healthy lifestyles and environments through hands-on education about production and consumption of locally-produced, natural, health foods. Adam also serves as president of the board for Farmer’s Market of the Ozarks.
Amanda Millsap Owen earned a Bachelor’s degree from Drury University. She attended graduate school at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and was inspired during her time there by a store called “The Produce Place” that labeled all food with its origin. At the same time, she worked at an organic farm in Nashville, and became involved with the Camp Dogwood Project that supplied organic foods to food deserts in Nashville. After returning to the Ozarks, Amanda and her husband, Ryan, opened Homegrown Food, a neighborhood grocer selling locally grown food from area farms. The store offers regular, convenient hours and features locally grown fruits and vegetables, as well as meat, poultry, milk, jam, flour and even Askinosie Chocolate. The majority of the store’s inventory comes from within 225 miles of Springfield. Homegrown Food currently partners with local programs such as the YMCA “Local Sprouts” project. The most treasured community oriented project is the installation of a processing kitchen to provide institutional partners with fresh, local produce. The long term goal is to supply schools. Amanda was selected in 2011 as one of 417 Magazine’s 20 Under 30. She serves as a Community at Large Member on the Farmer’s Market of the Ozarks board.
Outstanding Young Alumni Award (cont.)
Col. William (B.J.) Thomas
Family: Wife, Diane. Sons, Preston and Baily.
Education: Greenwood Laboratory School, 1984; B.S. Agronomy, 1989, Southwest Missouri State University
Current position: Commander, Missouri National Guard 1107th Aviation Group
1. What are some of your fondest memories of Greenwood?
The Class 1A Football Championship, playing basketball at the Blue & Gold Tournament in McDonald Arena, Pie Suppers and general Greenwood campus life.
2. How do you think Greenwood helped you succeed?
The smaller size and family atmosphere was very important to me. Greenwood provided the educational foundation I needed to be successful in college. I also believe that Greenwood established my foundation of confidence that allowed me to serve as an effective leader.
3. Tell me about your career path and what motivated you to serve.
It starts with my upbringing. I was raised in a family that valued service. I enlisted in the Missouri Army National Guard in 1986. I graduated SMSU and ROTC with my commission as an Army Second Lieutenant and departed for Flight School in 1989. Since graduation from flight school I have served in numerous key leadership positions and flown thousands of hours in the UH-1 Huey, AH-1 Cobra, UH-60 Blackhawk and the AH-64 Apache. I have served two tours in Iraqi and Afghanistan in support of OIF/OEF. My motivation to serve stems from my family upbringing and the values my parents placed in service to your country. Not to mention I really enjoy flying and working with soldiers.
4. You are currently the Commander of the Missouri National Guard 1107th Aviation Group. Talk about that position and your greatest challenge and reward.
I am responsible for 1,200 soldiers and an aviation inventory of 300 million dollars worth of assets. I have served as the Commander since appointment in 2007. My greatest challenge was deploying the Group in 2010 to three locations (Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan) simultaneously. Our mission was to provide graduate level aviation maintenance to the combat aviation brigades’ inventory of 1,000 helicopters. My greatest reward was the successful completion of that deployment and returning to the states with the unit intact and no combat losses.
5. How do you stay connected to Greenwood?
I have several close friends from my graduating class that I continue to see. I also reunite with old friends annually at the Blue & Gold Tournament, and we enjoy reliving our glory days as Blue Jays on the hardwood.
Outstanding Friends of Greenwood Award
Family: Husband, John. Chinese “daughter,” Chen Yajing.
Education: B.A. Economics, 1969, University of Oklahoma; MLS, 1970, University of Oklahoma; MBA, 1977, University of New Mexico.
Current position: Faculty Emeritus of Library Services
1. What do you think makes Greenwood unique?
Laboratory schools are decreasing in numbers across the nation. Greenwood has a history of over 100 years! That in itself has to be very special.
2. You were formerly the Dean of Library Services at Missouri State. Talk about that role and how it impacted Greenwood.
While I was Associate Dean of Library Services, we engaged in conversations with the Greenwood School and College of Education in regard to having the library become part of the University Library System, which happened in 1986. I have worked with the library since, particularly on space issues and to develop the plan for the current enhanced Haseltine Library. As an administrator, I was available to help with any issues, problems or projects. We added a full-time support staff position, provided computers for student use, allotted a budget for purchasing books and included Haseltine Library operations in all of the support operations for the University Libraries-acquiring, cataloging, and circulating materials. This operational help frees up the time of the Librarian, Mrs. Borneman, to be more fully involved in teaching/classroom activities.
3. Talk about how Greenwood is part of the University Library system and the benefits to both entities.
Being part of the University Libraries has expanded the range of resources available to Greenwood students and faculty. All of the processing work for the library is handled centrally at Meyer Library. Haseltine is part of the online system of the Libraries with the attendant technical support and equipment. There is a well-developed structure for collaborative endeavors between the Haseltine librarian and her colleagues in Meyer Library. Haseltine Library has benefitted in the area of development by being both part of Greenwood and part of the Libraries!
4. Your role at Greenwood has gone well beyond a professional relationship with the library. Talk about your personal involvement with Greenwood.
I enjoy spending time there. I have read to kindergarten students, judged spelling bees and made costumes for Greenwood.
5. What did you gain from your interaction with Greenwood students?
The students are bright, energetic and fun. I recently attended an evening presentation by 4th grade students about famous people in history. It was amazing to talk with the students about what they learned and how they used library research! The parents are so involved-that is critical for success.