After 18 years with Superintendent Stacy Stevens, the West County School District is now under new leadership.
Steven took over the district’s reins in 2001. Now, the torch has been passed to Dr. Kevin Coffman.
Coffman served as principal at West County Middle School for 16 years before becoming superintendent. He has worked in education for 27 years. He was a 6-12 math instructor, technology director, and coached volleyball, tennis and football. He has also worked as an adjunct instructor for Central Methodist and William Woods universities.
“My favorite part of education has been working with the kids,” said Coffman. “I also loved working with our great staff to create a warm, welcoming environment where students could learn not only academically but life lessons as well.”
Coffman’s goal is to continue West County’s success from the leadership of former Superintendent Stevens.
“West County has such a good thing going,” he said, “so I just want to make sure we stay the course and really offer the best educational experiences we can for all our students.”
In Coffman’s new job as superintendent, he will be working with three new principals in the district: Laura Basler, elementary; Adam Hector, middle school; and Levi Rawson, high school.
“Working with our new young administrators and helping them grow into great leaders in our buildings and community is something I’m really looking forward to,” he said.
As for changes, Coffman said nothing major is planned. “I feel our buildings are on a good path. I want to make sure the transition for students and parents with the new administration is as smooth as possible.”
He also wants to continue to support and challenge the staff to be the best they can be for the students.
The community is one area Coffman says he would like to focus.
“With the school being the central hub of the community, I want to further reach out through our schools and provide whatever services and opportunities we can to help our community grow and prosper.”
He said the district recently went into an agreement with Great Mines to offer medical, dental, and emotional support to the district’s students in the upcoming year.
Coffman commended Stevens on his leadership. “There isn’t just one thing he did for our district, he did so much. I watched him for 16 years and learned so much. His work ethic, passion to help our students, love for the community, and his overall compassion for the people. I have very big shoes to fill.”
He wants to continue that leadership and the strong sense of pride in the district and community.
“Mr. Stevens did a great job leading our district,” he said, “and now I’m grateful for this opportunity to continue leading West County in a successful direction.”
With new state standards being released, Coffman said the district will strive to surpass these expectations. “I hope to continue to look at expanding and adding programs which are needed and have been proven to be effective for students.”
He said he’s not a person who likes to jump on the latest craze or gimmick in education, which “could lead us to just chasing our tail.” Instead, the district staff will investigate and seek the best opportunities for West County students to excel and invest in professional development to continue their previous success. This means teachers must be continually trained and updated on the latest trends, teaching techniques and resources available.
“This keeps them sharp, focused and refreshed,” said Coffman.
Another thing Coffman is looking forward to is working with other administrators in the conference.
“I am very fortunate to be a superintendent in the MAAA because it has great leaders who are always willing to help,” he said. “I’ve had the pleasure of working in the past in some capacity with many of the current superintendents and have already started conversations with them on different areas of education.”
He said he’s looking forward to continuing the conference’s overall success. “I can’t wait to work with this great group of educators.”
As for his personal success, Coffman says that is directly tied to his family. They have been “supportive, understanding and a place of comfort when needed.”
His wife, Sandra, is his pillar of strength and the one who experiences his highs and lows. “She is my confidant.”
The couple has five kids. And as of this coming school year, all of their kids are out of secondary education. Four are in post-secondary education while one is out of college working as a registered nurse at Children’s Hospital.
“We are so proud of each of them,” he said. “They make me want to be my best not only for the kids of the district but for our kids as well.”
Although he doesn’t have much free time, Coffman does enjoy movies, exploring, relaxing, time on the beach and a great round of golf.
“I feel like the luckiest guy in the world,” he said. “I have a great wife, great kids and a great job. That equals a great life!”