Peter Stiepleman, age 40

Superintendent, Columbia Public Schools

Number of years with this employer: 11. In current position: Second year

Number of years lived in Boone County: This is our 12th year

What should anyone moving to Columbia know about our great community?

Two possible answers: (1) Columbia has great music, art, athletics and nearly every interest group represented. Want belly dancers? We’ve got ‘em. Want Renaissance actors or Civil War reenactors? We’ve got those, too. Want belly dancing reenactors? I bet they exist here in Columbia! (2) Every other person in this town is a journalist. Every citizen is guaranteed at least one interview. If you’re looking for 15 minutes of fame, this is a good place to start. In that spirit, the other person you meet is likely a doctor!

What is the unique thing you tell people when you are describing our community?

The food scene is sophisticated. In just a few city blocks, you can get duck wings, pirogues, a slice of Pizza, a burger and a bulgogi burrito. And then you should go get an antacid.

What is one best-kept secret you know about Columbia?

The University of Missouri has Truman the Tiger, but Columbia, Mo. has a Blind Tiger. Also known as a speakeasy, this establishment requires a password, has a secret door, and an impressive underground music scene. Who knew? Well, I did. But did you?

What is your favorite event during the year?

No brainer. True/False.

What do you think makes Columbia such a giving community?

It’s in the DNA of the Boone County families who have been here for several generations. Cindy Mustard. Richard and Tom Mendenhall. Genie Rogers. Darwin Hindman. It’s simply a value that has been passed down from generation to generation.

What has changed in Columbia in the past three years that you really like?

That school board went and hired that new superintendent. He seems great! Very committed to our community, our schools and our kids. We should support him and the bond and levy.

What is your favorite fact about Columbia that you would like to share?

More than 90 percent of the children in Columbia attend the public schools. Our community is so supportive of public education. Public education in Columbia is inextricably tied to the long-term economic development of our town.

Why do you choose to live here?

I grew up on Long Island, New York, and we moved here from Oakland, Calif. We initially considered our move to the Midwest as a temporary stop. And then in 2012, my wife was hit by a car and almost died. We knew her recovery was going to be a long and painful one. And this community. OUR community showed how it takes care of the citizens who live here. People we knew (and many people we didn’t know!) took care of us in so many ways. They cooked our meals, they did our laundry, they handled our childcare needs (I don’t think our kids have ever had so many baths!) and they supported my wife throughout her rehabilitation. She’s fully recovered now, and we have our community to thank for it. Why do we choose to live in Columbia, Mo. You’re our family. You’re stuck with us!