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2017 Most Influential Women: RaeLynn Anderson

Community volunteer

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RaeLynn Anderson has built a career in volunteer work – and the Nixa Public Schools system is a large beneficiary.

She’s a member of the Nixa Board of Education, volunteer coordinator for the school district, co-chaired its past three bond campaigns and Project Graduation 2015, served on its comprehensive strategic improvement planning committee and as president of the Nixa PTA, and was hospitality chairwoman for the Nixa High Band Boosters. If it sounds like full-time work, it is.

“RaeLynn Anderson has served in her community for several years and has given more of her valuable time and resources than anyone I know,” Nixa Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Kleinsmith says.

Anderson transitioned to the school district as a clerical substitute in 2008, a role she held until 2015. She leaned on her experience working as lead clerk in the business office of Mercy Hospital Springfield for seven years ending in 1997.

Though she’s held many leadership positions, Anderson realizes she wasn’t always at the helm.

“At one time, I always thought of myself as a follower,” she says, noting it’s been a progression. “Being able to make a difference with our youth is very important to me. I have strived to leave each position I have had in better shape than when I took over.”

Her school volunteer work has resulted in plenty of recognition: the Missouri PTA Distinguished Service Award, Nixa Public Schools Volunteer of the Year, Optimist Club International Friend of Youth Award and two Missouri School Boards’ Association Governance Leadership Team Award.

The state PTA award recognized Anderson’s effort to lead a collaboration between the school district’s 11 PTA units.

“It was my goal as president to get the units to work as one rather than compete against each other by sharing ideas and resources,” she says. “We developed and led a yearly auditing session where one PTA would audit another PTA’s books, which was a cost savings to all.”

In April 2015, Anderson joined the Nixa Board of Education. In that role, she twice has traveled with a dozen Missouri School Boards’ Association members to Washington, D.C., to discuss educational legislation with congressional representatives.

“Last year, we spoke of the importance of passing the Every Student Succeeds Act,” she says. “We were fortunate to actually see the House vote in favor of the bill in person. What happens in Washington, D.C., and Jefferson City affects Nixa, Missouri, and all of our students.”

From her efforts improving the process and credibility for background checks of school volunteers to regularly feeding 250 students, staff and volunteers during band competitions, Anderson recognizes every leader has critical help. After all, she remembers being a follower.

“A leader can lead, but she must have some pretty outstanding followers to make it a success, and I feel I have always had that,” she says.

To Anderson, she’s just using her gifts.

“I like to organize and feel I do a pretty good job because people keep asking me to help their volunteer activities,” she says.

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