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Ozark School Superintendent Announces Retirement

After serving as Ozark superintendent for the past five years, Dr. Chris Bauman is retiring at the end of the 2022-23 school year. The Board of Education accepted his retirement during the April 13 board meeting, effective June 30, 2023. 

“I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished as a District during the last five years during my time as superintendent,” Bauman said. “We’ve undergone multiple strategic planning processes that have continued to move Ozark Schools into the future. We’ve seen growth in our facilities, ensured the safety of our students and embodied our mission of providing a high-quality education for each student’s future-readiness.”

Bauman, whose wife is battling terminal cancer, said the decision to retire was not an easy one. However, it is one that is best for his family, adding “the time has come for me to enjoy my time with my wife, my children, and my grandson.” 

Bauman has many accomplishments over his years in education and has always tried to base his decisions on furthering the District’s mission statement “to provide high-quality education for each student’s future-readiness.”

“I’m most proud of advancing our vision of focusing on each student’s talents for success,” he said. “I believe the work done in expanding the Early Childhood Center will have a dramatic impact on our educational system for years to come. Additionally, the Innovation Center and Academies work that we are doing with our high school students will fundamentally alter the way we prepare these students to enter the next phase of their lives.”

School Board President Sarah Adams Orr said Bauman has continued to push the District forward, even through tough times.

“Dr. Bauman captained our District through a worldwide pandemic,” she said. “He and his team championed Ozark students by overseeing the construction of a best-in-class occupational training center. Dr. Bauman has led our District to adopt our innovative and acclaimed Academies program. He has raised the profile of the Ozark School District, and he will be missed. His legacy of excellence will continue.”

Bauman has been in education for nearly 30 years. He started as a mathematics teacher at Verona High School before becoming an Ozark Tiger in 1999, where he was a mathematics instructor, volleyball coach and wrestling coach at Ozark Junior High. After serving in Iraq for 14 months in the Army National Guard, Bauman became Ozark Junior High assistant principal in 2006, and then served as principal of Ozark Upper Elementary from 2007-2013. Bauman served as executive director of operations before being named superintendent in July 2018.

The Ozark Board of Education voted to hire Dr. Lori Wilson as the interim superintendent for the 2023-24 school year. Wilson, who currently serves as assistant superintendent of business and chief financial officer, will begin her interim role on July 1, 2023.

“Dr. Wilson served previously as superintendent at West Plains School District,” Adams Orr said. “She is an accomplished financial officer. Ozark School District hired her last year as its chief financial officer. As our interim superintendent, her combination of managerial and financial experience will serve us well.”

Wilson began her administrative career in 2009 as Ozark High School assistant principal, she went on to serve as the Nixa Junior High principal, Aurora Schools assistant superintendent and as the West Plains School District superintendent since 2018. She returned to Ozark in 2022.

“I am so honored and humbled to be chosen as the interim superintendent,” Wilson said. “I am following in the footsteps of great leaders such as Dr. Bauman and have big shoes to fill. I am excited to continue Ozark Schools’ mission of providing high-quality education for each student's future-readiness. I believe that when we accomplish our mission, we make success attainable for all — all our students, families, staff, business partners and the community.”

Ozark School Superintendent Announces Retirement