School Board challenger Grant Collings wants to bring ‘fresh eyes’ to the district

It’s Morning Edition on KRPS. I’m Fred Fletcher-Fierro. City, county, and school board elections are easy to overlook because they usually don’t occur when Federal or State elections are held. There are two seats up for grabs, with four candidates running in elections for the Webb City School Board. Grant Collings is one of the two fresh names on the ballot, but he’s no stranger to Webb City, having graduated from Webb City high in 2005. His experience as a Webb City School District student was one of the prime reason he felt compelled to run for the school board.

I graduated from Webb City High School, and when I moved into the, I felt that I really flourished. I was able to participate in several extracurricular activities. I went on to college at the University of Hawaii; then, I got a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan. And now I just want to give back to the community, back to the school district, that I did so well with myself that I want to make sure that future students have the same opportunity.” Grant Collings

When Grant was a Cardinal at Webb City High, he was in the marching band, speech and debate, the French Club, and theater. He says that the Webb City High staff also supported him to pursue those activities, which helped form him to be the person he is today. Professionally, Grant is a Clinical Social Worker at the Ozark Center, an entity of Freeman Hospital in Webb City. Grant says that he took to heart the motto of Webb City Schools.

“The tagline or motto for Webb City Schools is that ‘you can go anywhere from here,’ and I was the epitome of that going to the University of Hawaii, and then the University of Michigan. And I think that that still holds true. If I’m elected, I’m working to broaden the horizon of students.” Grant Collings

Grant views that one of the most significant challenges facing school districts is having in-person classes, even as the CDC guidelines were updated on Friday, reducing the amount of safe space between students to return to school safely.

The challenges I see is getting back to some in-person learning, with Covid-19, but I know that the CDC just re-did its recommendations for three feet of distance in schools. And so, one thing that I see as a challenge that I would like to accomplish is to get back to that in-person learning when it’s safe to do so.” Grant Collings

Being a clinical social worker, Grant knows that schools are more than just buildings. They are an extension of the city, the people who live there, and what’s important to them. Grant says that having a working professional knowledge of the building blocks of those relationships would benefit the Webb City School Board if elected. Also, following the CDC guidelines is not just for the students but their families and the community.

“The recommendations that I would make for the safety of not only the students but also for the community because the students go home and they visit parents. Parents visit their parents or their grandparents. We don’t want the school district or the school system to be the cause of an outbreak, so doing what the CDC would recommend. Hybrid learning, doing some in-person and online learning. I think recommendations like that to keep the community safe when the pandemic was at its height of what it is.” Grant Collings

Covid 19 and the challenges it has created for the Webb City School District aren’t why Grant decided to run for the school board in 2021. He’s simply proud of the time he spent and the experiences he had at Webb City Schools that helped him become the person he is today and wants to ensure that Cardinals’ future generations have the same stellar experience.

I believe that you should vote for me because I have been able to experience a whole range of different people, cultures, ethnicities because of my background in Webb City. I was able to go to the University of Hawaii, where only 25% of the student population was Caucasian. And so, experiencing new things, different cultures, and bringing that experience back to enrich the lives of our student base and our community because the school has a strong influence on the football games and all that. Just bringing in a different experience and a different perspective from someone who’s from the area but was able to get out, see different things, and can come back with a fresh set of eyes.” Grant Collings

Grant Collings is one of 4 candidates running for 1 of 2, 3-year seats on the Webb City School Board. Jason Woodmansee, Lisa Hartman Robinson, and Gretchen Shull are also running.

Municipal elections, such as city, county, and school board elections, occur throughout Missouri on Tuesday, April 6.

This link will direct you to the Jasper County elections website where you can find your voting location and see a sample ballot.

Candidate Lisa Hartman Robinson declined to be interviewed for this project.

All four candidates for will participate in a forum at Webb City High School Barton Auditorium, Monday, March 29, at 7:00 P.M.

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