Jeannie Cole

A native of Newport, Arkansas, Jeannie graduated cum laude from Harding University in 1976 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education (K-12). She moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas, in 1980.

Jeannie, a past President of the Fort Smith School Board, was first elected in 1997 to Position 7, representing Zone III which includes Barling, Euper Lane, Woods, Chaffin schools, and a portion of Bonneville's district. When she retired from the Board of Education in 2020, she was the longest serving school board member in the history of the Fort Smith schools.

She has represented Arkansas School Boards Association at the Federal Relations Network Conference in Washington, DC, annually between 2006 and 2020, lobbying Congress about education issues and how legislative decisions affect Fort Smith schools. In December 2008 Jeannie was given the highest individual recognition (at the time), the Pinnacle Award, by the Arkansas School Boards Association "for devotion to school board service, for attaining at least 200 hours of continuing education, and for providing superior leadership." In December 2015 she was recognized for completing over 400 hours of training and was presented the Platinum Award "for providing superlative leadership to your local school board and to the Arkansas School Boards Association."

Jeannie is a 2005 alumna of Leadership Fort Smith.

On 15 July 2005 she received the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Individual Leadership Development Institute of Arkansas Leadership Academy. She was an active member of the Arkansas Leadership Academy Advisory Committee, representing Arkansas PTA for several years.

Jeannie served as the 2001-03 President of Arkansas Parent Teacher Association. She began her PTA service in 1985 as a member of the European Congress of PTAs in Naples, Italy, as a homeroom chairman. After returning to Fort Smith in 1987, she continued her involvement in her children's school. She was elected President of Euper Lane Elementary PTA in 1991-92. In 1995-96, she served as President of Fort Smith Council of PTAs. After joining the Arkansas PTA Board of Managers in 1995, she helped form new PTA units, serviced existing units, and conducted leadership training for PTA officers and committee chairmen. She served the state board in a number of positions, including Vice President of Legislation and Vice President of Leadership.

She worked with National PTA serving on their National Council of States, Federal Legislative Committee, as a PTA mentor to other state PTA presidents, and on their Leadership Coach Team. She was presented with National PTAís "Presidentís Distinguished Service Award" in 2003. She was bestowed honorary life memberships in both Arkansas PTA and National PTA.

Jeannie often presented National PTAís Building Successful Partnerships workshops to educators, PTAs and civic organizations. Available for professional development credit, the workshops promoted parent and community involvement in public schools.

Jeannie's civic activities include serving from 2005 to 2022 as Secretary of the board of managers of The Hope Chest, a non-profit organization which distributes clothing and household goods to local, needy families. In the past she served on CoMend and the Mayor's Task Force for Youth Violence. At the state level in Arkansas, Jeannie served on the Department of Education Citizens Review Committee for Benchmark Testing; Center for Effective Parenting Special Advisory Committee; Arkansas Healthy Schools; Child Health Advisory Committee; and Great Expectations / A+ Schools Assessment Advisory Committee.

Jeannie reading a story

In 1997-98 Jeannie served as a peer learning coach for
Arkansas Leadership Academy in Ms. Hodnett's kindergarten class.

When not engaged in improving public education, Jeannie is usually busy at the West-Ark Church of Christ where she has been co-teaching ladies' Bible classes since 1988. She and her husband co-taught "Building Stronger Christian Families," a weekly Sunday School class for several years. Using the Song of Solomon, they co-taught "Building and Strengthening Healthy Relationships" Bible classes for college students in 2014. They coordinated large medical mission teams to Guyana, South America, each year from 1991 to 2010. Jeannie directed Vacation Bible School for 7 years (1989-1995) at West-Ark Church.

She served as President of the Fort Smith chapter of League of Women Voters from 2011 to 2015. Then she was instrumental in forming the League of River Valley Voters and served as their president from 2015 to 2022.

Jeannie lived in Naples, Italy, from 1983 to 1986 with her husband while he served at the U.S. Naval Hospital and Pinetamare Clinic. The Cole family has since traveled to 36 foreign countries for leisure or for humanitarian projects. Jeannie has conducted children's and ladies' Bible classes in Italy, Guyana, Kiribati, Vanuatu, and Eswatini. She has been a guest speaker in the public schools of Guyana, Vanuatu, and Christmas Island.

Jeannie is very talented in music and has sung soprano with the Fort Smith Chorale. She was director of One-A-Chord, a ladies' gospel singing group from 1987 to 1992. Nearly every year since 2004 she has participated as a soprano for Praise and Harmony CD recordings and music videos with Keith Lancaster's Acappella Company. She was featured in the first 20 seconds of this Praise and Harmony YouTube video.

CSA logo On 13 June 2022 she was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Community School of the Arts in Fort Smith.

Jeannie and her husband Michael, who is a family physician with Baptist Health, have been married since 1975. They have two children:
young Angelique silhouette Angelique (Mrs. Greg) Moses graduated in 1997 from Southside High School, where she was very active in choir and drama. She was an honors scholar at Harding University, where she majored in Christian Education. Greg and Angelique married in 1998. They spent the summer of 1999 studying in Florence, Italy. Greg completed medical school at the University of Texas Southwest Medical School in Dallas in 2006 and became board certified in Pathology in 2011. He now works at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, TX. Angelique had various administrative roles at Preston Road Church of Christ in Dallas. She completed a Master's Degree in Children's Ministry in 2007. She served as Children's Minister at Grapevine [Texas] Church of Christ, September 2009 to September 2011. Corbin Moses, our first grandchild, was born to Greg and Angelique in 2004. Rhiannon Moses was born in 2007.

young Steven silhouette Steven Cole, a 2000 graduate of Southside High School, won "Best of Fair" for his computer software project at the District Science Fair in Spring 2000, then placed 2nd in the State. He sang baritone in the high school choir and Johnny Reb Singers. He made All-State Choir in 1998 and 2000. He married Miss Louise Coffman of Fort Smith in 2003. The mayor proclaimed 31 May 2003 "Steven Cole and Louise Coffman Day" in Fort Smith. Steven earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from Harding University in 2004. He and his wife sang in the inaugural concert of the University of Arkansas Master Chorale on 21 April 2005. Steven is currently employed as a computer programmer at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, where he earned a math degree with a minor in Japanese. Carmen Cole was born to Steven and Louise in 2011. Ella Cole was born in 2016. Louise earned Master's degrees in English, Spanish, and Creative Writing in Literary Translation. She was granted a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies from the University of Arkansas in 2015.

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 Check out Jeannie's Ladies' Bible Class lectures

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This page was last updated on 13 June 2022.
Online since 3 November 1996.

link to West-Ark Church of Christ Web site