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On the Ballot 2016: Coulter, Crawford competing for open School Board Position 3

By Bill Short

Mark Coulter

Mark Coulter

Rosie Crawford

Rosie Crawford

Mark Coulter and Rosie Crawford are competing for the open School Board Position 3 in the Nov. 8 Millington city elections.
Position 3 is currently occupied by Chuck Hurt Jr., who chose not to seek re-election.
Educated in the Millington schools, Coulter is a local small business owner. He is a member of the First Baptist Church, the Memphis Chamber of Commerce and is a referee with the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association.
Coulter and his wife Stacey have two children – Brooke and Mac.
Crawford attended Florida State University and earned a degree in education at Memphis State University.
A retired Millington Middle School teacher, she is a member of the Millington Education Foundation, Retired Teachers Association, People for the Advancement of Millington Schools, Millington YMCA and Senior Club, the First United Methodist Church in Millington, and is an ambassador with the Millington Area Chamber of Commerce.
Crawford has two married daughters.
Both candidates recently responded to the following questions prepared and distributed by The Millington Star:
1. What additional policies do you think the newly elected school board should adopt after it is sworn in?
Coulter said any policies must meet the “immediate and extended” needs of the children at all grade levels. He noted that, if elected, he will be a “vested-interest” board member who advocates and supports policies that are in the best interest of students, parents and the community.
Crawford said there should be more vocational classes at Millington Central High School. She also recommended more effective communication with residents regarding “all the great things happening” at the city’s four schools by prior publication of events on the school system’s Web site and in The Millington Star.
2. List three significant issues in this election.
Both candidates cited funding, while Coulter also listed capital improvements and “community ownership” of the school district from Pre-K through the 12th grade.
Crawford said the school board should have members with a “positive” attitude who will work together for the best of the system.
3. Specifically, how do you plan to deal with each of these issues, if elected?
Coulter said he will help to design an “appropriate funding formula” beyond the state’s current funding system. As an example, he said a system of “grant-writing programs” should be in place to meet the “shortcomings” of the state’s basic funding model.
He noted that the school system must be able to give students the “very best” educational resources and teachers to meet the challenges they will face in today’s “world market.”
Crawford emphasized the need to work with the city board to maintain the flow of revenue from the half-cent sales tax into the school system.
Coulter said the large number of residents who do not have children currently attending school must understand that Millington’s schools are theirs, too. He noted that community tax dollars are best used for programs that give “viable” returns on the investment.
“It is our job to tell everyone the great things going on at our schools!” he said. “We must keep the lines of communication constantly open through social media, school and district Web pages and good, old-fashioned face-to-face conversations with our community by all educators.”
Coulter also said the school board must concentrate on additional processes and/or programs to meet the “structural and technological demands” to give students a “competitive edge” in the global 21st-century “life market.”
Because she believes “positive” is the key word for the schools and the city, Crawford said everyone should be “vested” in the schools for the benefit of the community.
4. What do you think is the biggest concern facing the municipal school system at this time?
Coulter said the system must give students at every grade level a “much-needed” resource by offering a livable wage to obtain and keep the very best teachers. He also said the system should provide incentives for teachers to further their education by obtaining master’s, educational specialist or doctoral degrees.
“If we say education is the great equalizer,” he noted, “then we need to let our teachers be able to be that shining example to our students.”
Crawford said the city board must be reminded of what the residents voted for on the half-cent sales tax.
“Our superintendent, Central Office and school board have worked to keep expenses down,” she noted, “while providing a great, prideful system and education for our students.”
5. What specifically makes you best qualified for the position you are seeking?
As a lifelong resident of Millington, Coulter said he has “deep roots” in the community. While noting that his wife works in the school system, he said his son is and will be “a successful product” of it.
Coulter said he views his potential election to the school board as an opportunity to “give back” to a city and community that has done “so much” for him during the past 40-plus years.
Crawford said that, as a PAMS member, she “campaigned” for Millington to have its own school system. While serving on the Transition Committee, she proof-read policies, stamped MCHS textbooks, stuffed envelopes to out-of-district applicants and delivered Pre-K notices to parents.
“I have a love of education – students and schools,” she noted. “I have a lot of pride for our town, new school system and the progress our schools have made.”

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