West Plains School Board Questionnaires -- Christena Silvey Coleman
Wed, 03/29/2023 - 10:25am admin
Name: Christena Silvey Coleman
Length of time in district: I have been a lifelong resident of West Plains, Missouri, with the exception of when I was attending college and law school, living in the West Plains R-7 District fifty-one (51) years.
Connections to the district: I attended kindergarten through 12th grade in the West Plains R-7 School District, graduating with the Zizzer Class of 1989. My daughter, Camille, is currently a Freshman at West Plains High School.
Brief personal bio: I grew up in West Plains, Missouri, the daughter of Carol and Richard Silvey. Following graduation from West Plains High School, I attended college at Southwest Missouri State University, now Missouri State University, attaining my Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Communications, graduating in 1992, cum laude. After graduation from college, I attended law school at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, graduating in 1995. In 1995 I was admitted to the Missouri Bar and returned to West Plains to begin the practice of law where I currently own my own law firm, CSC Law, LLC. I am married to John Coleman, and we have one daughter, Camille Coleman.
Why are you running for school board? Having had the privilege to serve on the West Plains R-7 Board of Education since 2017, I have had the opportunity to better understand the commitment and excellence that our faculty, staff and administrators have for the education of our students in a safe environment. I believe in public education and the opportunity that it provides for every student to set and achieve their personal goals and aspirations. I have a vested interest in our community and our school and with my daughter attending the West Plains R-7, I want to continue to support the district by serving on the West Plains R-7 Board of Education.
Do you have an existing relationship with any members of the school board or administration? As a member of the West Plains School District Board of Education since 2017, I have had the privilege and opportunity to get to know all of the current board members, each of whom I respect for their commitment to our students, faculty, and staff. During the course of the last six (6) years I have also developed an excellent working relationship with our administrators who truly exemplify what it means to be a Zizzer.
How can the district improve school safety? Over the last several years the West Plains R-7 District, and specifically the current Board of Education for West Plains R-7, has placed an emphasis on improving school safety throughout the district. This initiative has included a district wide initiative to “Stop the Prop” to insure that all doors are closed and locked while students are present and in classes. Further, the district has installed secure entrances at all buildings to ensure the safety of our staff and students. Most recently a check-in kiosk in each of the lobby areas where parents and visitors are required to input their personal information to ensure that they are able to pickup students or be allowed in to be involved at school. In addition, to improve the parent pickup for our elementary and middle school students, the district invested in technology that allows family members picking up their students to remotely identify when they arrive, in a secure manner, so that their student(s) is/are ready at the designated pickup locations. Moving forward, I believe that the district will need to continue to overcome the logistics of our campuses in order to secure our perimeters for the improvement of school safety.
Are you familiar with Missouri’s Sunshine Law? Yes.
What is the most important improvement the district can make to academic performance? Continuing to provide support to our faculty, staff and students for the academic programs and initiatives in the West Plains R-7 district is important to achieving academic performance for all of our students. Perhaps the most important improvement is the continuation and expansion of the available support for faculty, staff and students who need mental health services.
The West Plains R-7 District has and will continue to remain committed to the academic performance through the leadership of our administrators and instructional leaders and coaches. One example is initiating testing for our elementary and middle school students which allows students and parents to have supportive data and relevant information regarding their student’s accomplishments while at the same time setting goals for growth in learning for the remainder of the academic year. Meeting students where they are in their respective education journey is key to academic performance.
Should parents/guardians or community stakeholders be concerned about CRT-influenced curricula in West Plains now or in the future? I can state with confidence that Critical Race Theory is not a part of the curriculum in West Plains R-7 district currently, and no one should be concerned that Critical Race Theory will be taught in our district in the future.
In terms of resource allocation, please rank the following topics from most important to least important: All of the following topics are important to the success of the West Plains R-7 District. It is most difficult to rank them from most to least important because all are most important and the importance can change. The ability for our district to attract and retain quality educators, faculty and administrators is key and, from my perspective, is vital to each of the listed important topics.
-Teacher job satisfaction-
-Existing academic programs -
-New academic programs-
Does introducing a school uniform to R-VII school make sense for the district? Why or why not? While I understand that there has been a correlation between improved student behavior and the wearing of uniforms in educational environments, I do not believe that requiring uniforms be worn by our students is necessary due to the current dress code in our district and the commitment to compliance with the dress code provisions by our building administrators.
What does R-VII do better than anybody else? I am most proud of the commitment by our district to not only the academic and extracurricular accomplishments of our students, but also, the commitment to the physical and mental health of our faculty, staff and students by the opening of the Zizzer Clinic in collaboration with Ozarks Healthcare. Especially in our post-pandemic world, the support for all dealing with the challenges in life and at school and home is so important for the success of our students.
If school choice becomes law, how will you compete for students to choose this district? Due to the unique structure of our local school districts we have already faced the challenge of demonstrating our excellence in an effort to have students overwhelmingly choose West Plains High School. Should school choice become law in Missouri, the West Plains R-7 District’s academic programming, our expansive extracurricular offerings and collaboration with MSU-WP for dual enrollment, among so many other collaborations, will continue to make West Plains R-7 the best choice for all students.
For incumbents: What are you most proud of during your time on the school board? As referenced above, there are many accomplishments that have occurred during my tenure on the West Plains R-7 Board of Education to date; however, perhaps the thing that I am most proud of is the ability of our district to navigate and innovate through the challenges that the last several years have presented for education. Providing our students with options, including hybrid learning during the pandemic and a continuing virtual learning option, in addition to, the traditional seated learning environment allows each student and their family to determine the option that is best for their educational experience. We have excellent faculty, staff and administrators in the West Plains R-7 district all of whom are committed to each and every student in accordance with the Zizzer tradition which I am proud to be a part of as a school board member.