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Family and service are two constants in David Liss’ busy life.
“While I do stay very involved serving through community, church, family and professional activities and organizations, many times I wonder if it’s just that I don’t know how to stay ‘no’,” says Liss, executive director of technology and strategic planning for Nixa Public Schools. “I have had to learn the art of balance between service and family, as my family is everything to me.”
Liss always is willing to serve, and he looks for ways to nurture future leaders. He likes to lead by example, describing himself as an active coach and cheerleader.
“I don’t back down from leadership roles, such as board positions or heading up a project, but I’m also content to dig in, get dirty and put my hands to the plow.
On any project or in any organizations, I am willing to follow, lead and serve – whatever is needed at the time,” Liss says. “I believe that, as leaders, we are called to invest ourselves in building more and better leaders.”
While Liss is proud of many things related to family, faith and work, his proudest accomplishment is the Nixa Youth Triathlon.
Working with the Christian County Optimist Club and through the assistance of family and friends, Liss started the event for children ages 7 through 15, which later expanded to include teenagers 16 and older. The goal was to get kids off couches, away from screens and outside.
“From the beginning, we have offered training sessions leading up to race day to keep kids active toward their goal of competing in the triathlon,” Liss says. “The results of this over a period of nine years involves countless stories of accomplishment and perseverance for kids, parents and families.”
In all endeavors, Liss seeks to coach, cheerlead and lead by example. He believes in teaching and pushing people to maximize their potential.
“This is a focus with my kids, employees, friends and co-workers, those who I volunteer with and even my supervisors,” he says.
“There are just some things that are right to do, not the least of which is to love and encourage others. That’s what I try to do.”
Stephen Kleinsmith thinks Liss is succeeding.
“I believe from his giving spirit, he is a citizen we can all be proud of, because he has walked the talk,” says Kleinsmith, Nixa Public Schools superintendent who has known Liss for nine years. “David helps us remember our obligations to help the community realize our full potential.
“David lives by this motto: ‘The greatest rewards in life come when we are in service to others.’”
Liss’ involvement spans both work and civic affairs.
Among several education-related activities, he has built out full coverage Wi-Fi in 12 district buildings; participated with 14 other school districts in the Ozarks Educational Research Initiative; is a certified education technology leader; and is in the Consortium for School Networking’s Volunteer Hall of Fame.
Liss facilitated the Nixa Area Chamber of Commerce’s board in a three-year strategic planning effort, and he is active with the Nixa Education Foundation. He currently is chairman of the Missouri Education Technology Leaders.
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