State Schools of Character

PACIFIC, MO (January 26, 2024) - The Meramec Valley R-III School District is overjoyed to announce that three of its schools: Zitzman Elementary, Nike Elementary, and Truman Elementary, have earned state recognition for their exemplary focus on character development. This recognition not only reflects the dedication and hard work of the staff, but also underscores the positive impact on academic achievement, student behavior, and school climate.

Zitzman Elementary proudly joins an elite group, being named one of the eighty-seven State Schools of Character across the nation. Meanwhile, Nike Elementary and Truman Elementary stand out as the only two schools in the state to receive the prestigious Missouri State School of Character Honorable Mention.

The Meramec Valley R-III School District has a longstanding and fruitful partnership with CharacterPlus, a leading nonprofit organization based in St. Louis. This collaboration has been instrumental in fostering student achievement, supporting social and emotional development, and creating positive learning communities. The district's commitment to character development is evident in its collaborative efforts with CharacterPlus, reinforcing a shared vision for holistic education.

Dr. Ketina Armstrong, Assistant Superintendent, expressed her excitement over the achievements, stating, "We are thrilled with the news of Zitzman, Nike, and Truman Elementary Schools earning state recognition for their unwavering commitment to character development within their school communities. The staff dedication of each school to fostering a growth mindset and prioritizing whole-school improvement over the past four years has set a commendable standard. This achievement not only reflects their hard work, but also highlights the positive impact made on shaping resilient, collaborative, respectful, and responsible individuals."

This recognition is not just a testament to the hard work of the staff, but also an acknowledgment of the entire school community's efforts in embracing the journey of character development. The Meramec Valley R-III School District takes pride in celebrating the success of its schools, and this achievement marks a significant milestone in the district's ongoing commitment to excellence in education.

Schools designated as State Schools of Character hold the prestigious title for five years and are eligible for evaluation as National Schools of Character. The State Schools of Character program in Missouri is locally managed by CharacterPlus. Through the Meramec Valley R-III School District’s partnership with CharacterPlus and coaching support of Senior Facilitator, Debbie Brandt, schools receive evidence-based development and training. For additional information, please visit