West Plains — The Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education selected Lowell Kruse, St. Joseph, to become the new chair, replacing Kathy Swan, Cape Girardeau, who has served as chair since July 2006.

Kruse will retire this summer as president and CEO of Heartland Health, a position he has held for 25 years. Heartland Health is a not-for-profit health care agency that employs 3,000 people in a 21-county area of northwest Missouri and parts of Kansas and Nebraska.

Kruse was appointed to the Coordinating Board by former governor Bob Holden in 2003 and reappointed to the board in 2009 by Gov. Jay Nixon. He says serving as chair enables him to continue the board's efforts to improve pre-school through postsecondary education in Missouri, and to promote higher education as the key to prosperity for the state and its citizens.

"Many of the Coordinating Board?s most important initiatives focus on removing barriers so that policy makers can work across sectors to help the state progress," Kruse says. He praised the work of Kathy Swan, outgoing chair, for her hard work, dedication, diplomacy and skillful guidance to the board. Board chairs are elected for one-year terms.