Sparkl West-Pruitt has served in the Hazelwood School District for since 2012. Now she adds the Board of Education seat to her extensive resume.
“Mrs. West-Pruitt brings an impressive track record of advocacy for students to the Board of Education,” Cheryl D. Latham, board president said in a news release. “Her dynamic business experience and student-first focus is a welcomed addition to this body.”
West-Pruitt was named to the board in November. She has served the Hazelwood School District in various roles since 2012. She also held several leadership roles with the Hazelwood PTA Council, which includes serving as council president.
As a prominent advocate for students, West-Pruitt strongly believes education is a major key to success. Her passion for influencing the lives of all connected with the educational field inspired her to join the board. She also had another advantage: her formative years were spent in a country that takes education very seriously.
“My goal is to give our students, teachers, and parents a voice in the decision-making process,” West-Pruitt said. “I also hope to help foster an environment that allows us to have tough conversations about diversity, accountability, transparency, and the future of education.
“Finally, I believe I bring a unique perspective to our push to improve education. I was born in Japan and lived there through elementary school. That experience helped shape some of my opinions about how to best serve students.”
With her board appointment West-Pruitt is making history as one of seven women now serving on an all-female board. She said it would be “fantastic” to have a male perspective on the board, but she’s confident that she’s surrounded by women who are capable of making smart decisions about important educational issues.
“Women are the first nurturers of a child, so we approach education with a student-first focus,” she said.
In a previous role, she served as a key communicator in the district. She participated in monthly meetings held by the superintendent with parent-teacher associations and community leaders to keep them up to date on significant issues.
“I’ve always felt strongly about parent involvement and how important it is in a child’s development,” West-Pruitt said. “We can’t put [responsibility] solely on teachers, especially those teaching our Black children.”
After relocating to St. Louis from Atlanta, West-Pruitt said she was looking for a good school district for her son. That’s when she stumbled upon Hazelwood.
“I immediately got involved with the parent-teacher association and began attending board meetings,” she said. “From there, I started volunteering at Jamestown Elementary School and encouraged students to reach their full potential.”
West-Pruitt is a graduate of Georgia Technical Institute and has a background in business and entertainment management. She is also a motivational speaker with an emphasis on goal setting, business marketing, parenting and diversity.
West-Pruitt replaces Mark J. Behlmann, who had served as a board member since 1997. He stepped down earlier this year. Board President Latham, in commenting on Behlmann’ departure, said, “Mr. Behlmann has left an indelible legacy on our district, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him."