Leading the Pack Part 2

Leading the Pack Part 2
Posted on 07/21/2021

Leading the Pack-Part 2
By:  Christine Harper

            Last week, I started Part 1 of 3 that will highlight Mexico Public School’s seven Board of Education members.  These folks have a tremendous job of making decisions for and taking care of the district, its employees, and its students.  This week, we will highlight Todd Yager, Heather DeMint, and Kelli Teel.

            Todd Yager currently serves as the BOE President.  He and his family moved to Mexico in 1999, and Todd went to work at Arnold Funeral Home as a funeral director and embalmer.  He is in his 9th year as Audrain County Coroner.  Todd is married to Jayne and they have three children and two grandchildren.  Todd likes the North Carolina Tar Heels and college basketball.

Todd Yager

            Todd says his biggest reward as a BOE is “being a part of something so special to Mexico.  MPS is a huge part of the Mexico community and knowing you are doing everything possible to constantly improve it is extremely rewarding.”  Todd also likes the cookies at board meetings.  LOL

            Todd recognizes there are challenges and says improving culture is one of them.  He says, “I am fortunate to work in an environment where everyone truly respects each other.  My wish is that each person in the district gets to experience that same feeling each day they come to work.  I believe we are well on our way.”

            His vision for MPS is that it becomes the school district where people dream to teach.  “Getting the academics, extracurricular activities and culture to a level unmatched is a goal, and it can only be achieved by constantly looking forward.”

 Heather DeMint is not new to MPS.  She was born and raised in Mexico and has been at United Credit Union for over 25 years.  She is married, and they have two children who are involved in many activities year-round.  Heather enjoys reading, puzzles, and spending time with friends and family.

Heather DeMint

As a BOE member, Heather’s biggest reward is “being able to be a part of such an awesome school district.  Being part of the reconfiguration, the building of the MMS gym, and the turfing of the athletic fields has been very rewarding.  Anything we can do to improve this district and make this community a more attractive place is a plus!”  Heather says the biggest challenge over her years as a board member has been “the leadership changes at central office, but has no doubt that Mrs. Chastain will be able to navigate this upcoming school year and make it a successful one!”

Heather’s vision for MPS is “make sure our focus is on the students and their education.  That doesn’t always look like what everyone thinks it should.  The district needs to make sure we are doing the best we can with communication to parents and the community.”

 Kelli Teel has lived in the area for 23 years.  She currently works at Kingdom Telephone in Auxvasse, and she has two kids and two dogs.  She is very busy with her kids and their activities, and she enjoys outdoor activities and anything at all that her children are involved in.

Kelli Teel

Kelli says there have been many rewarding things over the last 4 years as a board member.  She says, “When I became a member of the board, the district was in the process of using bond money to expand schools and do some major capital projects.  After these projects were completed, the focus turned to the imbalance of classroom sizes.  The board and administration spent many hours researching and speaking to the public through forums and surveys to determine the best way to resolve this issue.  The final decision to reorganize our elementary schools and redistrict was not popular with everyone, but it has been successful in balancing classroom size to make the learning more equal across the district.  We have made improvements to our sporting facilities allowing us to have first class facilities to hold District events and give our students excellent facilities.  We have also added middle school softball and other programs for our students to be involved in.”

Knowing that the BOE has a small but very important role in the district, Kelli says her biggest challenge has been becoming familiar with what is happening in the district, how things operate, and when they happen...the processes and procedures.”  Hiring a Superintendent is definitely a challenge.  She says, “knowing what questions to ask and what homework needs to be done” to hire the right person is a very important task.

Like other board members, Kelli’s vision for MPS is a focus on students.  “My vision for MPS is always with the focus of:  How can we improve our students' learning in a cohesive and productive environment and employ staff with the same focus?  Every decision we make has to have the students' education as a priority.  The most important part of a students' education is the individuals that make that happen.  We as a board want a happy staff of administrators, educators, building staff, cafeteria staff, maintenance staff and bus staff.  Everyone in our district plays a very significant role in the education of our students and we need to provide those individuals with the best working atmosphere possible!”

MPS appreciates the work our BOE does to provide opportunities for success.  Next week, we will highlight the last two of the seven board members.  Stay tuned!