Meet Our People

Dr. Karla Eslinger

Dr. Karla Eslinger is a lifelong educator with more than 30 years of experience in a variety of educational settings. She started her career as an elementary school teacher before serving as a building principal and superintendent in Ava and West Plains. After retiring as superintendent, Dr. Eslinger came to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to serve as the assistant commissioner in the Office of Educator Quality. She then went on to work for the AEM Corporation, serving as a senior analyst for education services and providing technical assistance to the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Eslinger most recently represented District 33 in the Missouri Senate from 2021-2024. Prior to that, she represented District 155 in the Missouri House of Representatives from 2019-2020.

A graduate of Gainesville High School, Dr. Eslinger holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from The College of the Ozarks. She also earned a master’s degree in education administration and a specialist degree in superintendency and educational system administration from Missouri State University. Dr. Eslinger received her doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Dr. Eslinger is a long-term resident of Wasola, where she and her husband David reside on the family farm. They have also owned and operated a small business for over 35 years. They have two daughters, who are public school educators, and four grandchildren.

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