Messmer explains her decision not to run


Lisa Messmer, left, and Tori Behlke take their seats on the Mehlville school board in 2018.

By Erin Achenbach, Staff Reporter

Mehlville Board of Education member Lisa Messmer gave her goodbyes during her final board meeting this spring, after not seeking re-election for another term.

Messmer was elected to her first term on the school board in 2018, running as a slate and taking office alongside fellow board member Tori Behlke. In parting words to the board, Messmer, a registered nurse at Nazareth Senior Living Center, said that she never intended to be a one-term director but that COVID-19 had taken its toll.

“I truly do not have the bandwidth left to be on the school board and to be a frontline healthcare worker. … It really has been an incredibly difficult year personally, professionally,” said Messmer. “I really have to give you all (the board) all the respect in the world and the administration. I think they’ve done a phenomenal job steering this district through the most unprecedented thing ever in the existence of the school.” 

Messmer is a 1984 graduate of Oakville High. Her siblings also graduated from the school district, as did her children.

“I’ve counted it out and in my entire life, I have been involved in something all but 10 years of my life with something in this school district, so it’s definitely something that I care very deeply about,” Messmer said.

Behlke, who was re-elected to a second term on the board unopposed this year, thanked Messmer for running alongside her in 2018.

“We have a unique bond … running at the same time. … The support I received from you and vice versa, and times during our campaign where we felt like we were breaking because it was a … pretty critical time. … I’m so grateful to have been through that with you,” said Behlke. “I can’t imagine not only doing it alone but doing it with anybody else. Your wisdom, the value you have added to this board, has been remarkable.”

Board member Jean Pretto, holding back tears, praised Messmer for the wisdom and perspective she provided during the pandemic, when the district and the board had to make decisions about how to safely proceed with school during a unique time in the district’s history.

“As a career registered nurse, you brought wisdom, timely information, clarity and insight during the COVID-19 crisis —  you never missed a beat, even when attending in person wasn’t possible,” said Pretto. “While being stretched to the limit as a frontline worker, you continued to serve without hesitation.”