Long before his first day as the superintendent of Marionville Schools, Chris Gold is already making sure to involve the community in its students' education as much as possible.

In an informal meet and greet session at Marionville Middle School last Friday, Gold met with school faculty and staff, as well as parents and members of the community, asking each person who came to write down an expectation they have for their new superintendent.

This exercise, Gold expects, will multiple aspects of his transition -- getting to know his new community and including the community in education. The incoming superintendent, who will take the place of Larry Brown upon his retirement, said he can already tell that the community is like a family.

"I feel like education is valued by that family. People are heavily invested in the school and the kids, and that's what I want," Gold said. "I don't want it to be a situation where it's like, 'Eh, I don't really care.' I want them to be vigilant about their education and that's what we have here in Marionville."

A native of Billings, Gold understands the southwest Missouri tradition of valuing education as a community. Gold graduated from Billings High School in 1991, before earning a degree in education from Missouri Southern. He then earned his Master's and Specialist degrees in Education Administration from Lindenwood University. In his 20th year of working in education, he has spent four and half years at Diamond.

Gold and his wife, Elizabeth, have three teenage children and reside in Republic. In an introductory letter offered at the meet and greet, he said his sons are involved in football, track, baseball and weightlifting and his daughter is active in speech and debate, student council and swimming. His wife operates 3fourteen designs, a custom apparel shop in Republic.

Gold said he looks forward to embedding himself in the community starting next school year and working with the community to meet the students' needs.

"As long as we develop a positive relationship, working back and forth and trusting each other, it's going to be a great partnership," he said.