Fort Benning

Phenix City Public Schools administrator is Fort Benning's new assistant superintendent

A Phenix City Public Schools administrator is the new assistant superintendent for the military school district that includes Fort Benning.

Today will be the last day of work in Phenix City for Lisa Coleman, the system's federal programs and secondary curriculum director. Her retirement is effective June 1, she said, but she has enough accumulated leave time to start her first day of work at Fort Benning on April 20.

And she doesn't have to move her family to work in her new job, so her two daughters, Brooke and Lauren, can remain in Phenix City schools.

"It is the best of both worlds," she said.

Making the opportunity even more attractive, Coleman can combine her professional and personal experience. She has been an educator for 29 years, and her husband, retired Lt. Col. Ernest Coleman, was deputy chief of staff and the post inspector general at Fort Benning, where they used to reside.

"Having military children, they need an advocate and someone who understands the curriculum, the changes coming forth with the Common Core or the College and Career Readiness standards," she said. "I need to bring that knowledge with me and give those children the very best. They are a very transient population, so oftentimes we have to make sure they have what they need because their parents are focused on protecting our freedoms."

Phenix City superintendent Randy Wilkes called Coleman "a great employee" and the job change "a great move for her."

"Tremendous accolades, kudos and congratulations to Lisa," he said. "We're very proud for her."

Asked about his plan to replace her, Wilkes said, "We're probably going to do that internally for the time being and see how it goes. I've done federal programs for years, so I can do that, and we'll take the secondary curriculum and spread it out."

Long-term, Wilkes said, the vacancy might not be filled at all.

"We're having personnel meetings all this month," he said. "We're shifting things and people and trying to be good stewards of what we have."

So the $90,584 salary for Coleman could be used for another purpose, Wilkes said.

In an email to the garrison commanders and school board presidents, Christy Cabezas, superintendent for the Department of Defense Education Activity's Georgia/Alabama District, which comprises Fort Benning, Fort Rucker and Maxwell Air Force Base, explained why Coleman was hired to replace Sue Burdick, who retired in October.

"Mrs. Coleman has experience at all levels (elementary, middle and high school) in different capacities to include teacher, school counselor, assistant principal, and principal," Cabezas wrote. "She also has experience as a District Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. As an added bonus, Mrs. Coleman is very familiar with schools in the surrounding local districts outside the gate at all three installations (Benning, Rucker and Maxwell). She has a professional network to include school and district administrators in Columbus, GA, Phenix City, AL, Russell County, AL, Enterprise, AL, and Montgomery, AL. She will be a great asset to assist our schools with transitioning 8th grade students into high schools outside the gate. From the standpoint of a mother and a wife, she understands how to support our military families."