St. Louis Children’s Hospital Announces 2013 Advocacy Award Winners
Whether on a state, city or neighborhood level, this year’s Advocacy Award recipients have dedicated their professional lives – and spare time – to uplifting the children of our region, and instilling in them a sense of possibility for the future.
Established in 1994 by St. Louis Children’s Hospital, the awards recognize local and state leaders who leverage their positions, resources, and influence to do what’s right for kids.
Missouri State Senator Eric Schmitt: State Advocate of the Year
Senator Eric Schmitt has dedicated his professional, legislative and community service to improving the lives of all Missourians, with a focus on the most vulnerable. His commitment to helping others started while a student at Truman State University when he founded a Habitat for Humanity chapter on campus. He went on to attend law school at Saint Louis University where he received his J.D. and was editor of the Law Review.
Senator Schmitt was elected to his second term in the Missouri Senate in November, 2012. He currently serves in Senate Leadership as the Majority Caucus Chairman and chairs the Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government Committee. His work as a community volunteer has focused on improving the lives of children, including those with disabilities. The Senator has served on the Board of Directors of Nurses for Newborns Foundation, St. Louis Crisis Nursery, and Kirkwood School District’s Parents as Teachers Program. He has also been involved with the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance, the Gateway Chapter of the Autism Society and Habitat for Humanity.
Senator Schmitt represents the 15th Senatorial District. One of his first legislative successes was to pass a bill that made permanent the five regional autism projects that served persons with autism and their families. Knowing the importance of parental involvement in developing services, he included in the legislation a parent advisory council be established for each region, and required the Missouri Division of Developmental Disabilities to create the Missouri Parent Advisory Committee on Autism. A major problem for parents of children with autism has been securing and keeping insurance coverage for their children. Senator Schmitt co-sponsored and worked closely with his House and Senate colleagues to help pass a bill that mandated health insurance coverage for individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. The legislation requires insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism and prohibits insurance companies from denying or refusing to cover individuals with autism. He has also sponsored legislation that would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop The Parents’ Bill of Rights to inform parents of children with disabilities of their child’s educational rights.
Dr. Kelvin Adams: Community Advocate of the Year
Dr. Kelvin Adams began his role as Superintendent of Schools for the St. Louis Public School (SLPS) District on November 3, 2008. As superintendent, he oversees a school district serving more than 25,000 students in grades Pre K–12. The district also employs more than 4,000 people, including almost 2,500 teachers. Dr. Adams is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the district and its $300 million budget. When he assumed the position, he was the eighth person to occupy the superintendent’s office in five years. In the five years since, he has provided the district with stability and consistency.
Since 2008, Dr. Adams has focused on improving student achievement. In 2006, more than 60 percent of 10th graders scored at a level “below basic” in math on state standardized tests. Since his arrival, students’ standardized test scores have improved at every level. In October, 2012, the state approved a provisional accreditation for the school district.
Dr. Adams has supported a strong partnership between SLPS and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, which has long provided students and families with vital screenings, asthma care, dental care, and injury prevention programs. The partnership has included virtually every SLPS elementary school, as well as some of the middle and high schools.
Prior to his current position, Dr. Adams was the Executive Director of Human Resources for St. Louis Public Schools from 2006-2007. He had previously served in several administrative positions in New Orleans, another state-run district. He was working as Chief of Staff for the Recovery School District (RSD) in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and managed the devastating effects of that event – which compounded existing budget shortfalls and crushing poverty endured by students
Dr. Adams received a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership in Administration from the University of New Orleans in 2005. He earned a M.A. in Elementary Education from Xavier University in 1991 and a B.A. in Elementary Education and Special Education from Northeast Louisiana University in 1978