Twenty-one members of Missouri’s House will be meeting several times before returning to Jefferson City for the 2014 legislative session to look into ways to improve Missouri’s education system. And a former Missouri educator is leading the charge with the newly created interim committee.

Rep. Steve Cookson, R-Poplar Bluff,  is no stranger to education. He chairs the House Elementary and Secondary Education committee, serves on the House Higher Education Committee and the Joint Committee on Education. As a former teacher, principal and superintendent he says he understands how important education is.

“The future of our state, our nation and our communities depends upon what kind of quality opportunities we provide for our young people in preparing them for the future,” said Cookson.

Cookson taught for 15 years in southern Missouri. He was a principal for several years before serving nine years as the Ripley County R-II superintendent.

“Education is really a passion of mine,” said Cookson.

Cookson says he’s still not sure what issues his committee will discuss, but there are several facing education in the state.

The committee is meeting on Thursday at the state Capitol to discuss issues they want to tackle over the course of the next few months.

Cookson says he hopes that the committee meetings will be held throughout the state, so the committee members can see first hand what Missouri schools need to improve.

To see a list of all 21 members on the committee and to see scheduled meetings click here.

AUDIO: Matt Evans reports (1:04)