By Bill Short
Chris Denson is the unopposed candidate for the open School Board Position 7 seat in the Nov. 8 Millington city elections.
Position 7 is currently occupied by Donald Holsinger, who is running for alderman.
Denson graduated from Overton High School and attended Lambuth College for two years. He completed studies at Baptist College of Health Science and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Columbus University in Louisiana.
A registered X-ray technician, he is employed as director of Professional Services for Fujifilm Medical Systems USA.
Denson previously served for three years as vice president of the Basketball Boosters Club for Millington Central High School and has been president of the Football Boosters Club for the past four years.
He is also a parent representative on the Student Discipline Council for MCHS and volunteers annually for the MERGE ministry, which performs community service for one week each summer with hundreds of children.
Denson is a member of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists and the First Baptist Church in Millington, where he teaches Sunday School.
He and his wife Diane have six children and three grandchildren.
After the newly elected school board is sworn in, Denson thinks it needs to adopt a more “open-door” policy for the community. That would include “planning councils” that represent parents, so they will have more of a “voice.”
He also thinks the board needs a more open communication policy that will allow it to use all aspects of social media to inform the public of its plans.
“I know we have a couple of places currently,” he acknowledged. “But we can really expand using technology that is available today to allow those folks who can’t come to the meetings to have access to what we’re planning.”
Asked to list three significant issues in this election, Denson cited the board’s need to:
(1) communicate its long-term plans to the community and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen; (2) get the school system’s scores raised on scoring mechanisms; and
(3) continue the progress with enhancing its school buildings and facilities.
Denson said he will work with his fellow board members to develop a means of communicating to the city’s residents through all available media.
He will also propose that the board appoint someone to work directly with the “scoring entities” to improve the system’s scores.
“That’s something I think we can handle,” he said. “This is low-hanging fruit.”
Regarding the board’s plans for facilities enhancement, Denson noted that its communications should include images of the “beautiful designs” it has for its buildings.
He said the biggest concern facing the school system at this time is a “misperception” that it has “big issues” it cannot overcome.
“With a little bit of work and community involvement,” he noted, “I think we can really improve and enhance the perception of our schools.”
Citing recent reports, Denson said there are three areas where Millington’s schools saw “good improvement.” He noted that the ACT scores increased by four points for college readiness, and the system’s “satisfaction ranking” was 15 or 16 percentage points higher than the state average.
“All those things show that we’re on the right track,” he concluded. “And we just want to further that.”