Tom and Kim Prater (Photo by Randy Bacon)

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A Springfield ophthalmologist and former board of education member has been named to Missouri’s State Board of Education.

Gov. Mike Parson on April 12 announced that Dr. Tom Prater has been appointed to the board. Currently a partner with Mattax Neu Prater Eye Center, he previously served as president of the Springfield Board of Education. 

Prater has also been president of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, as well as a member of Springfield City Council and board member for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Southern Methodist University, medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and an ophthalmology residency with Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

The State Board of Education is responsible for guiding the Missouri State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. It sets policies, defines academic performance standards and assessment requirements, establishes requirements for teachers and accredits public schools. It is made up of eight members, who serve eight-year terms.

Prater’s appointment is pending confirmation from the Missouri Senate. He replaces Peter Herschend, and his term expires on July 1, 2031.

Editor's note: Tom and Kim Prater donors to the Hauxeda. A complete list of donors is included in our donor transparency policy. Donors are not involved in news coverage decisions.

Joe Hadsall

Joe Hadsall is the education reporter for the Hauxeda. Hadsall has more than two decades of experience reporting in the Ozarks with the Joplin Globe, Christian County Headliner News and 417 Magazine. Contact him at (417) 837-3671 or More by Joe Hadsall