c/o University of Missouri Extension
PO BOX 655
Moberly, MO 65270
660-269-9656
President: Penny Henry 660-651-9434

More About EXCEL…

By SAM RICHARDSON
(Monitor-Index Contributor)
The University of Missouri EXCEL community leadership development board, at its August meeting Wednesday night at County Bank in Moberly, ignited its month-long search for

​the ​members of its 2016-2017 class. EXCEL is a statewide program sponsored by the University of Missouri (MU) Extension Division. It was founded in Moberly in 1984 by local Extension agents working with Ron Poore, then president of City Bank & Trust Company, which today is part of the Central Trust system. After a successful launch in Moberly, EXCEL was taken statewide by MU and now operates in about one-quarter of all Missouri counties. Its model has been cloned by many communities and operates as “Leadership” programs.
EX​CEL is an acronym for “Experience in Community Enterprise and Leadership Development.” That cumbersome title quickly became just EXCEL and, in Randolph County, has become a must-have element of the resumes of leaders and would-be leaders.
Decades before Kal Cleavinger was the chairman of the board of County Bank and before Dean Miller was president of Moberly Motors they were rookies in that inaugural EXCEL class in 1984. Other members of that landmark group included Karen Berding, the director, and Carolyn Fleming, the senior ​parent educator, in Moberly’s nationally-acclaimed Parents as Teachers (PAT) program for early childhood development. Many of the community’s current government and political leaders are graduates of EXCEL, including Randolph County Sheriff Mark Nichols and Treasurer Penny Henry, just to name a couple. New officers for the 2016-2017 cycle, are president Dorinda Dameron and vice president Lori Perry, both of the Moberly Area Community College (MACC) staff; treasurer Tricia Stoneking, vice president of County Bank; and secretary Lisa Finnell, executive assistant at Central Christian Church.
The boilerplate description of EXCEL goes like this: “EXCEL is designed to assist in the development of community leadership skills that will help you improve your community both economically and socially. Our goal is to prepare you to effectively deal with the issues and concerns–present and future–of your community.”
EXCEL is open to all persons living or working in Randolph County. Class size is limited, therefore an early indication of commitment to the program is strongly advised.
EXCEL leaders like to note, “EXCEL is not a passive experience. It is an intensive, demanding, one or two times monthly, 140-160 hour learning experience. Participants are expected to attend each session (or as many as humanly possible) in and outside Randolph County. Participants also are expected to be active in the teaching/learning experience process and to share their own knowledge and expertise with the group.”
The sessions begin in late September and end in late May. The program includes a weekend retreat to the Camp Windermere conference center at Roche in the Ozarks, an overnight working classroom at the Capitol in Jefferson City and an overnight community study tour to Ottumwa. Tuition for the program is $400 per participant, which is usually paid by the class members’ employers from training and development budgets. Likes Messrs.Cleavinger and Miller, many Randolph County firms have found their future leaders from the select corps of EXCEL graduates. The $400 covers only a small portion of the expense for the classes, which also are supported by the over 300 EXCEL alumna and alumni in the community.
Early commitments to the 2016-2017 EXCEL class include new Moberly city manager ​ Brian Crane and new MoberlyRegional Medical Center chief executive officer John Dawes and well-known Moberlyans Wally and NancyLandrum.
EXCEL applications are available online at randolphcoexcel.org, from the two MU Extension offices on Reed Street in downtown Moberly, from EXCEL leaders and by emailing randolphcountyexcel@gmail.com. Participants are asked to submit a $50 deposit with their application.
The new class kicks off with a September 29 banquet atMACC’s Blue Room​. Other highlights include a Christmas gathering at Don’s Family Restaurant in Huntsville December 6 and a graduation banquet hosted by Central Christian College May 16. EXCEL graduate Dr. Carl Liebhart, a Moberly dentist and recent EXCEL graduate, is scheduled to deliver the keynote at the kickoff banquet.