Leading the Pack-Part 3

Leading the Pack-Part 3
Posted on 07/28/2021

Leading the Pack-Part 3
By: Christine Harper


            Over the last few weeks, I have highlighted our BOE members, who they are, and what they believe about Mexico Public Schools, the district they serve.  It is important to know and understand the people who serve the district, because they have the responsibility that ultimately affects the entire community.  This is not a job these folks take lightly.  This article features Nicole Jahn and Marci Minor.

            Nicole Jahn is also a Mexico native.  She graduated from MHS in 1999, went to Columbia College and graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Marketing, and currently works for Apple.  Her son, Byron, is named after her dad, who instilled the value of servant leadership in Nicole from a young age.  Nicole loves music, her hometown, time with family, the outdoors on the water, and hiking every chance she gets.

            Nicole says the biggest reward of being a board member is “getting to know the students, gaining some new life-long friends, and getting the opportunity to meet all of our employees and better understand what they do for us day-in and day-out.”

            She says her biggest challenges as a board member are “being one voice out of seven and trying to come up with solutions that meet the needs of everyone.”

            Her vision for Mexico Public Schools is “that we put pride in helping all the students in our community reach far beyond their potential.”

Nicole Jahn

            Our next BOE, Marci Minor, is not new to education.  She has been an educator for 17 years serving as a substitute teacher, coach, classroom teacher, FBLA/Student Council/Yearbook sponsor, and member of the district administration teams in Mexico and Hallsville as Communications Director.  She recently was the 2020 State Award winner for work in school public relations.  However, she considers her most important title to be “Jack and Sam’s mom.”  During the summer, you can find Marci at the pool, eating a donut, or traveling alongside her partner-in-crime, Jason.

            Marci says the biggest reward of being a board member is “service to school and community alongside six strong BOE members.  When you look at the various backgrounds and experiences of each individual, everyone brings something to the table to benefit Mexico 59.  Our board has a positive relationship with Central Office as well as our Bulldog faculty and staff.  Mexico 59 is moving forward into 2021-2022 with great leadership, healthy fund balances, and a team of faculty and staff members who truly care about our students.”

Her biggest challenge:  “The challenge as a board member is the same challenge as all who work in the field of education. You want to help every kid, every staff member, every community member. Most of the time, when someone approaches a board member, it's because there is a problem. My answer will always be, "Have you spoken to the teacher/coach/sponsor you have the issue with?" I know asking you to follow the chain of command may seem like you're being pushed aside. But it's also showing I have faith and trust in the person hired to do the job; they have the best interest of our kids in mind and are trained in their specialized areas. I urge individuals with issues to approach the person of issue, and then a principal/supervisor, or the Superintendent prior to a board member. One thing we all know in any business is no matter what you do, someone will complain. I often say that as a mom of two teens, I can't even keep my entire household happy; it's so much more difficult to keep the families of 2,400 students happy. Frankly, it's not possible. But no one enters the field of education expecting accolades, honors, and a hefty paycheck. We expect disagreement and tough conversations and sometimes hurtful accusations on social media from people who would never do the jobs we do. Educators are underappreciated servants, yet doing whatever it takes to shape the lives of children into productive citizens. Let's appreciate our professionals for who they are and with the respect they deserve.”

Marci’s vision for the district really sums up what educators believe about education.  She says, “I could talk about test scores and grades and all those measurement things that may have a place in education. Instead, my vision for Mexico 59 is for students and staff to feel supported after 18 months of pure chaos. Two years ago, our school reconfigured elementary schools. Last year, the pandemic. It's great to have a big picture plan to get back to "normal," but my desire would be to take it day-by-day and decide what's the next right thing, right now, for our people? This means the plan may change frequently. This means we all have to be flexible - as students, staff, and parents. This means kids need to learn, but they may first need food, or counseling, or just to be in an environment where they know someone cares about them. Schools are the heartbeat of a community, and my vision is to serve a district where students and staff feel accepted, and heard, and grow as students and leaders. What's a community without a great school?”

Marci Minor

Without a doubt, Mexico Public Schools has a BOE committed to doing what is best for all staff and all students.  As we embark on this new school year, it’s important to remember that we are ALL truly in this together, and at the end of the day, each of us wants to say, “I did my best for the kids today.”