Election 2016: Spring Hill mom wants to ease tensions if elected to District Three seat

Election 2016: Spring Hill mom wants to ease tensions if elected to District Three seat

Spring Hill mom and tech specialist Christy Coleman said she wanted to run for the open District Three seat after coming to school board meetings for the past few years.

Spring Hill mom and tech specialist Christy Coleman said she wanted to run for the open District Three seat after coming to school board meetings for the past few years.

Coleman has a first-grade son. She comes from a background in business, working for Mars Petcare in Franklin.

She routinely attends school board policy and work session meetings. She said she’s running to make a difference and to provide a fresh perspective.

“Most importantly, I am a mom,” Coleman said. “I think that we need someone that has a diverse experience and can offer solutions to issues we are facing right now, like how fast the county is growing and high-stakes testing. And we need to listen to them without retaliating.”

She will face Eliot Mitchell and Kimberly Little.

Rezoning is one of the first issues the new board will deal with together as the Nolensville schools open and Thompson’s Station on the horizon. What’s your philosophy on school rezoning, grandfathering and the anticipation of future growth for rezoning.

It’s obviously going to be a massive undertaking the next 10 years. My philosophy is to be on top of it and ahead of it through work with developers and city planners.

When a developer is building an area, they know what demographic they are going for. In Spring Hill, it’s a lot of single family homes. I think the administration already does a good job, but lets do a five, seven and 10 year plan.

Another big thing is working with developers and board of mayor and aldermen. It needs to be that partnership. If developers are building properties where we can’t keep up with growth, new residents may not want to live here.

But if a kid has to be rezoned more than once, that is too much. Is that reasonable? Probably not. But it’s doing that planning and making sure we aren’t rezoning kids too much, so they can keep social circles and be in schools with their siblings. If a kid is already attending a school, we should have provisions for them to stay, but for the siblings to follow behind them when their sibling is moving on to middle, it should be a case-by-case basis.

When you start rezoning, you have neighborhoods split. From a transportation standpoint, that is not the best option.

You can’t fit any more kids in District Three, so they probably won’t be touched much. But if we have a new middle school built, kids will be touched by its construction. There’s a ton of building, but not in District Three. But it will obviously impact things in this district.

What is your position on standardized testing – is there too much, too little?

Right now, my child is in first grade, so he doesn’t do TNReady.

There should be a solid intention, and testing has become testing for testing’s sake. I’ve worked in data for a long time, and you can have too many metrics pulled, plus you’ve worn out students and some of them start to hate school.

I want to get kids outdoors more. I know there are some studies in Texas of kids who have three or four recesses today of about 15 minutes so they could stop and burn off energy.

When it comes to testing, just from a fallout of my friends who have kids in that range, it’s way too much.

What is your position on Common Core and the state phasing it out?

I think if anyone is talking about it, it’s pure political pandering. We want to watch what’s being phased in and make sure it’s state controlled. The bigger issue is testing, but that doesn’t mean we don’t stop watching as a state. We want teachers to have the opportunity to teach and not teach to the test. It’s a thing of the past, but you have to learn from those mistakes and make sure things don’t become worse following it.

What do you think of current state education standards?

I would say, from a state standpoint, I think they are great. Are they perfect? No. But we will exceed them anyway. I don’t have an issue with them.

Do you think world religions should be part of history or social studies curricula?

On the subject of religion in schools from a historical standpoint, you have to. You can’t pretend it didn’t exist. The basics of beliefs I am OK with being taught.

I think it’s a fuzzy line, and that’s what people get upset about – at what point are we teaching about and teaching religion?

It’s hard for teachers to be unbiased when teaching. I hate the term “separation of church and state” because it diminishes what people believe. It tells a kid their faith doesn’t matter or belong in school, but it’s still important. It matters to me as a parent.

There has to be a line. I think what happened in Maury County – I can’t speak to that county – but I do feel like someone took it, and basically used it as a political platform without thinking how it will affect children.

There are proper channels to get things resolved before blowing it out of portion. I don’t think our teachers are indoctrinating our children. Kids should always feel free to express their religion.

What is your opinion of the current state of WCS and the current leadership?

I definitely support Dr. [Mike] Looney. He’s doing a great job, and I’ve been impressed with him in the past few years with the drama being spun up by members in the community and school board. He’s graceful in those situations.

When it comes to administration, they are doing a great job. There is always room for improvement.

When it comes to the board itself, it needs a little more conclusiveness and more bridge building. You are going to get everyone sitting on there right now to participate, but it would be great if they could just sit down and put the tensions aside. The last few months, they’ve started to gel and work better together.

It’s great to have polar opposite viewpoints on the board. Everyone on the board loves children, but there’s too much tension for them to work together. We can’t grow as a community until we get that working well.

What is the best thing about WCS?

Honestly, when I think about the school system, I am going to throw out the word passion. We have teachers passionate about education. I see that with my own son’s teachers. I see that with those trying to be involved with the school board, even though they are getting a hand to the face. You’ve seen the parents really come alive in the past two years with them wanting to protect what we have here. I see a lot of excellence coming out of every facet.

What needs attention and what aspect of it could need adjustment?

I would say the No. 1 thing that needs to be fixed – it’s nothing about policy – it’s that trust between teachers and the board and administration.

One thing I want to do is bring that old school concept of town halls. Yes, you have public comment at the board meetings, but there are so many meeting spaces. For example, I would say ‘hey, we are going to come talk about the new social standards.’

But the biggest thing is that trust and integrity, and until they can trust each other, it doesn’t matter what we try to do. If there is no trust, it’s doomed to fail. The biggest thing that needs to be done first is tap the breaks. It’s come to that point with how we are operating right now overall. I think the administration and teachers are doing a bang up job.

There needs to be this refocus on loving children, and not seeing the other as not caring.

Emily West covers Franklin and Williamson County government and schools for Home Page Media Group. Contact her at emily@franklinhomepage.com. Follow her on Twitter via @emwest22.

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