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Dr. Angie Besendorfer is the chancellor of WGU Missouri, the state’s online, competency-based university. She champions college attainment for working Missourians who wish to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree. WGU Missouri offers advanced degrees in business, education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. Besendorfer leads the efforts to connect students and community stakeholders with WGU Missouri’s online competency-based model for increasing levels of higher education throughout Missouri.
Besendorfer has spent 23 years in the field of education in Missouri, implementing innovative and technology-focused learning strategies. Before joining WGU Missouri, Besendorfer was the assistant superintendent of Joplin Schools for eight years leading advancement in curriculum, instruction, assessment, and facilities. She was also an adjunct professor at Missouri State University in 2013, teaching in the master’s program for Educational Administration.
Among the innovations Besendorfer has championed is a focus on digital learning. She took the lead in the Joplin district’s recovery after an EF-5 tornado hit 10 schools. As the leader in designing and building cutting-edge new schools, Besendorfer guided the community to re-imagine high school education, questioning things like “why should it take the same number of minutes to learn algebra as biology or art appreciation?”
Besendorfer has extensive experience in management; she has served in Missouri schools as superintendent, director of special services, and elementary school principal. She began her career as a teacher, winning the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.
Besendorfer holds a bachelor’s in education from Missouri Southern State University, a M.S. in Elementary Administration from Central Missouri State University and a doctorate in Education Leadership from the University of Missouri.
Besendorfer has been a featured presenter at the International Leaning Forward Conference, the National Institute of Medicine, and has presented widely on 21st Century Education. She is a member of the regional Workforce Investment Board and the Mercy Hospital Community Advisory Board. Besendorfer is active with the area Rotary Club, museum complex, and Chamber of Commerce.
Besendorfer is the mother to two daughters and lives in Kansas City, Missouri.
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