• The West Plains Schools Board of Education sets policies and rules that govern the administration of the school district. The board operates according to both Missouri law and state Department of Education regulations, and it sets policy only when members meet in an official session. 


    West Plains School District Board of Education

    Jimmy E. Thompson, President
    Cindy Tyree, Vice President
    Sam Riggs
    Brian Mitchell 
    Christena Coleman
    Reid Grigsby
    Jodi Purgason


    Jimmy E. Thompson- Board President
    First Elected: 1987
    Current Term Expires: April 2024
    Profession: Retired
    Degrees/Life Experience/Volunteer Activities: 1969 graduate of West Plains High School, BS from SMSU (now MSU), MBA from MSU. Employed by the Neathery family for many years, in their radio and cable television operations, later co-owner of Schwegman Office Supply for several years then served as Assistant Director of Development at SMSU-West Plains and employed by Air Evac in 2001. Longtime Rotarian and a charter member of the Rotary Club of West Plains Sunrise was a founding member of the Community Foundation of West Plains, currently serving as board vice-president and active in Immanuel Lutheran Church--LCMS. Active in Boy Scout Troop 61 for many years as Assistant Scoutmaster and Scoutmaster.
    Parent of West Plains Schools students: Amy (class of ’94), Chris (class of ’96), and Jeff (class of ’98). Grandson Joseph (class of ’16), granddaughter Abbi and granddaughter Adrienne.
    What does it mean to you to serve on the board: I grew up in a family that made an example of giving back to the community. There is no better way to serve the community than to do something that provides our children with the opportunity to grow and learn, enabling them all to rise to their potential and become productive citizens. The kids of today will become tomorrow’s leaders, and to have some small part in helping shape who they will become and, in the process, shape our future, is humbling. There have been many changes in my 30 years on the board, but it is truly exciting to see where we were as a district then compared to where we are now and to be able to implement our vision for what we will be in the future. It is a truly fantastic experience to serve on a kid-centric board where all of our decisions are based upon doing what is best for our kids, and I’m honored our patrons have continued to show their trust in me and have allowed me to give back to the community.


    Cindy Tyree – Vice President
    First Elected: 2004
    Current Term Expires: April 2025
    Profession: Cattle Rancher and Co-Owner of Tyree’s Fertilizer
    Degrees/Life Experience/Volunteer Activities: Mrs. Tyree has lived in West Plains since 1979, moving from the state of California. Mrs. Tyree has been married to her husband, Lynn, for 34 years. Tyree studied dental hygiene at Chabot College in Hayward, California, later moving to Missouri to become a cattle rancher and eventually co-owner of Tyree’s Fertilizer. Tyree serves on various committees for the West Plains School District. 
    Parent of West Plains Schools students: Three children, who are all West Plains graduates. Granddaughter – Ellie. 
    “I enjoy serving the staff, students, and patrons of the WP school district. Everyone on our board is committed to a first-class public education that puts KIDS FIRST--- Cindy Tyree.


    Sam Riggs – Board Member
    First Elected: 2007
    Current Term Expires: April 2025
    Profession: Manufacturing
    Degrees/Life Experience/Volunteer Activities: BS Mechanical Engineering; MBA; Worked in manufacturing for over 24 years. Actively involved at First Baptist since moving to West Plains in 1993.
    Parent of West Plains Schools Students: I have three children, all graduates from West Plains Schools in 2009, 2013, and 2017, and my daughter-in-law is a teacher in the district.
    What does it mean to you to serve on the board?: Young people are constantly learning. Many of the young people in our area spend part of their years learning in the West Plains Schools, and I am blessed to be able to come alongside those students and families by providing the best faculty and staff possible for learning in an environment consistent with the values that are important to our community. The people I serve truly strive with every decision to enable excellence in education, service, and life - the West Plains School District mission.


    Brian Mitchell – Board Member
    First Elected: April 2013
    Current Term Expires: April 2024
    Profession: City of West Plains Street Superintendent
    Degrees/Life Experience/Volunteer Activities: I was born at West Plains Memorial Hospital in 1972, and have lived here all my life. After graduating from West Plains Senior High in 1990, I attended Linn Tech to start my career in construction with a year-long training. I then went to work for the City as a Medium Equipment operator and through many years of dedication to our great City, I have moved up to the position I hold now and still love serving my community at work or on the school board and am active with the Heart of the Ozarks Fair board.
    Parent of West Plains Schools Students: Brandon & Weston, both Zizzer graduates. 
    What does it mean to you to serve on the board: I feel our community needs people to volunteer, to take the time to assure the general public that we are getting what is best for our town and that our money is being spent on the best way for our kids. Not to have a certain agenda, but to give our kids a better education and to make sure we try and stay up with the times at the same time, the kids need practical and basic skills to prepare them for life.


    Christena Silvey Coleman – Board Member
    First Elected: 2017
    Current Term Expires: April 2026
    Profession: Attorney
    Degrees/Life Experience/Volunteer Activities: High School- 1989 West Plains High School; College- Southwest Missouri State University (MSU) Bachelor of Science- 1992 Major: Organizational Communications. Minor: History; Criminal Justice. Graduate-University of Arkansas. Juris Doctorate- 1995.
    Parent of West Plains Schools Student: Daughter, Caroline Camille Coleman.
    What does it mean to you to serve on the board? I serve on the West Plains School District board because of my desire to see the district be on the cutting edge of educating our students by utilizing the most advanced technology and curriculum and seeing our students succeed at the national and international levels. 



    Reid Grigsby – Board Member
    First Elected:
    2021 (Appointed)
    Current Term Expires: April 2026
    Profession:  Entrepreneur
    Degrees/Life Experience/Volunteer Activities: High School- 1993 West Plains High School; College- Arkansas State University – B.A. 1997 - Major: Psychology, Minor: Philosophy; Small Business Owner - BÜRO; Ozarks Healthcare Board of Directors; Industrial Development Corporation of West Plains – President; Parish Council – St. Mary’s Catholic Church; Rotary Club of West Plains
    Parent of West Plains Schools Students: Daughter Gillian “Gilly” Grigsby -  Augustus “Gus” Grigsby 
    What does it mean to you to serve on the board? After graduating from Arkansas State University in 1997, my wife, Tracy, and I moved back to West Plains so that we could try to make a positive impact on the future of our hometown. I can think of no other entity that has as big of an impact on our future as our school system. The faculty, staff, and students deserve to have the very best that we can offer so that we may all grow together as a community.  Nothing pleases me more than to see the youth of West Plains succeed in whatever endeavors they choose, whether that be academically, athletically, vocationally, or just simply growing as a person.



    Jodi Purgason – Board Member
    First Elected:
    April 2023
    Current Term Expires: April 2026
    Profession:  Realtor
    Degrees/Life Experience/Volunteer Activities: High School- A 2011 West Plains High School graduate. Head coach of West Plains Recreational baseball team. 
    Parent of West Plains Schools Students: Eli and Riley Purgason.
    What does it mean to you to serve on the board? As a Zizzer alumnus, our district has a special place in my heart. We play an extremely crucial role in developing our future; our children deserve the best. I look forward to working with the board to make higher education a priority along with safety and transparency.  Together we can work to make our district better than ever.