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New principal believes in lessons on respect

Respect is something students aren’t taught enough of in school, West County Middle School Principal Kevin Coffman believes.

Coffman, taking the place of former principal Adam Grindstaff, cites a trip he took with his family to Six Flags as one example of realizing young people could use a few lessons in respect. Several middle school-aged children were at the theme park the same time Coffman was, and the students were using foul language and displayed a general lack of respect.

“I think we really need to instill self-respect and respect for others,” Coffman said.

Coffman took a year off after 11 years with the Fredericktown school district to help his father-in-law start a business, but now the educator is ready to go back to school.

“I really missed the day-to-day interaction with the students,” Coffman said.

Saying “this is just a great school,” Coffman is excited about his chance to be a part of the West County school district.

While he enjoyed working with his father-in-law, Coffman loved watching students, grades six through eight, grow both physically and academically.

Even though his things aren’t completely unpacked yet, Coffman is already planning on the upcoming school year.

Coffman will meet with teachers from the middle school to develop three main objectives for the school to work on in the upcoming school year, but Coffman already has two in mind. The principal wants to boost student attendance and work to improve students’ state test scores.

In the tough economic times local school districts find themselves in, Coffman feels it’s best to stay with what has been proven to work for students, as opposed to wasting money on new ideas which may prove fruitless.

Students can expect to see Coffman interacting with them, roaming the hallways, Coffman said. He adds he will respect the students, but also asks they respect him, teachers and their peers as well.

“I’m pretty easy to read,” Coffman said. “If it’s for the good of the students and the district, I’m for it.”

One thing Coffman won’t be doing at West County is coaching volleyball, a job he had, and will miss, as head coach for Fredericktown’s varsity team.

“If they’d let me coach volleyball, that’d just be the icing on the cake,” Coffman said.

Coffman received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Southeast Missouri State University and resides in Fredericktown with his wife, Cindy, seven-year old son and three-year old daughter.

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