KASB Board Member Profile: Jurdene Coleman, Manhattan-Odgen USD 383

Jurdene Coleman
Manhattan-Ogden USD 383
How long have you been a school board member? Nine months. I was elected in November 2017
Why did you decide to become a board member? I am a marriage and family therapist at a local community mental health center. I work with kids every day who experience difficulties in schools and wanted to do something about it. It is hard to change a system from outside so I decided to run for office so I could assist with making positive changes in my local schools.
Who was an adult you looked up to when you were growing up and why? In college, I was part of a living learning community – students who were in the same majors who lived together and took classes together. It was geared towards 1st generation college students, which I was. Our mentor for the program, Felicia, was a graduate student who worked for our learning community. She was headstrong, loved learning and was a free spirit. I admired that she came from a similar background and she was focused on her education and self improvement.
Who was your favorite teacher and why? I had extraordinary teachers along the way and each year one always stood out as an integral part of my life. If I had to choose one it would be my high school Spanish teacher, Ms. Hill (Senorita Colina). She was very encouraging and had a bright spirit. She didn’t care if what she did was off the wall or out of the ordinary and she did whatever it took to make us interested in learning.
What do you do outside of being a board member? I serve on my city’s Special alcohol fund advisory board as well as many other committees within my community that focus on mental health and wellness initiatives. For fun, I host and organize game nights with my friends and do Zumba at a local gym.
What experience do you bring to the table that will improve your local school district? I am a mental health professional trained in sytemic approaches so my expertise is looking at our district as a system rather than just as individual parts. The state’s push on trauma informed education and social emotional health made this the ideal time for a mental health therapist to become part of the local board of education.
As a board member, what is the top goal you have this year? My top goal is to understand my role as a board member and how the district operates. There is a misconception that the board has a direct hand in day to day operations and I want to educate the community on how the district works to encourage more citizens to be involved.
What is a saying or quote that you live by? If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’re going to get what you’ve always gotten.

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