Bob Steffes, St. Louis director
Bob Steffes is the new director of Columbia-College St. Louis, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary this month. Read more details about the anniversary in this issue of Connections.
When did you start working for Columbia College?
I started my career with Columbia College in July 2011 when I was hired as the MAT Community Outreach Coordinator for the Online Campus.
What excites you most about working here?
The people. Since my first day of employment I have felt welcomed by everyone I have met. Fed Hall was filled with wonderful people, and I have found the same here on the St. Louis Campus. It is fun to come into work every day when I get to work beside dedicated professionals.
What were you doing previously?
Prior to working for Columbia College I was in public education. I spent 12 years as an English teacher, most of that time at Jefferson Junior High School in Columbia. I followed that with three years as the Assistant Principal at West Junior High in Columbia before moving to Jefferson City and finishing my career as the principal of Lewis and Clark Middle School for 17 years.
Where are you from originally?
I grew up in the very small town of Wien, Mo. — population 30. We had a Catholic church, an elementary school, a tavern and my dad’s grocery store. I spent my first eight years of school in Catholic school, then went to high school in Marceline, Mo.
Who or what influenced you professionally?
My mentor throughout much of my education was Dr. Jerry Valentine with the University of Missouri-Columbia. I first met him in 1988 when I started my Educational Specialists program at MU and worked with him until I received my PhD in 1993. Since that time we have continued to stay in contact and he has greatly influenced many of my professional decisions. The other person would be Stephen Covey who wrote “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” I heard him speak in 1991 and became an instant fan. Much of how I approach my personal and professional lives is centered around his work.
Tell us about your family.
I have been married to Terri for 36 years, and we have one daughter, Ashley, who is now 27. Terri is currently the principal of East Elementary in the Wright City School District, and Ashley is an instructor at Indiana University in Textiles and Design. We have two rescue dogs — Wilson, a West Highland White Terrier, and Truman, a Cavachon.
What are some of your hobbies and interests?
I love to cook and to travel. I am a Food Network junkie and love to be in the kitchen. I really enjoy traveling and seeing new places … and of course trying out new restaurants!
Favorite book and/or author?
All-time favorite author is Stephen Covey — after that my reading is pretty eclectic including James Patterson, Stephen King, Anthony Bourdain, David Sedaris, Dan Brown, Malcolm Gladwell — I really pay more attention to what the book is about rather than the author.
This is a tough one because I really like food. So some favorites would be salmon, pork belly, scallops, baby back ribs, steak, asparagus, Brussels sprouts and tiramisu. Of course the adventure is trying new things. My most recent have been monk fish, pork cheek, gooey duck clams, red pepper leather and crispy salmon skin.
Favorite type of music?
Country and classic rock are favorites, but it really depends on my mood. I can go from Aerosmith to Sugarland to Yo-Yo Ma to Norah Jones in just a few hours.
Favorite sports team?
Mizzou Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals, Green Bay Packers
Tell us something about yourself not many people know.
I am the percussionist in a Jefferson City band called 2 Car Pile-up.