Gov. Jay Nixon today signed an executive order creating the Office of Community Engagement responsible for facilitating communication with Missourians and informing policy solutions for the unique challenges facing low-income and minority communities. The Governor appointed former State Senator Maida Coleman as the office’s director. Former St. Louis City Municipal Judge Marvin Teer will serve as deputy director and general counsel.
“Across our state, Missouri communities are facing serious issues involving race, educational and economic opportunities, and poverty,” Gov. Nixon said. “The Office of Community Engagement will be responsible for facilitating meaningful communication about these issues that will yield concrete results. Maida and Marvin will get to work immediately to listen, learn, and assess the challenges facing minority and low-income communities across the state, and help to develop specific policies to address them.”
Under the Governor’s executive order, the Office of Community Engagement will be housed within the Office of Administration and be responsible for engaging communities, public and private sector leaders, clergy and citizens across the state in communication regarding critical issues affecting Missouri communities.
The Office will also be responsible for assisting in the development of policies and strategies to foster greater prosperity and opportunity for all Missourians. In addition, the Office may make recommendations to the Department of Economic Development, Missouri Community Service Commission, Missouri Housing Development Commission and other boards, commissions and agencies that administer programs designed to assist low-income individuals, urban neighborhoods, community redevelopment and similar activities. The Office of Community Engagement will also recommend individuals to the administration for appointment to boards, commissions and agencies of the state.
A native of Sikeston, Coleman is currently the executive director of the Missouri Workforce Investment Board at the Department of Economic Development, where she oversees the state’s 37 business-led workforce policy making boards. From 2001 to 2009, Coleman served as a state representative and state senator from St. Louis, and became the first African American woman in state history to serve as Senate Minority Leader. She previously held management level positions at the office of the Missouri Secretary of State and the St. Louis Housing Authority. She has a B.A. in Journalism from Lincoln University in Jefferson City and attended the Darden Graduate School of Business Leaders Program at the University of Virginia.
“From small towns to big cities, every Missouri community faces its own unique challenges – and that’s especially true in areas where poverty rates are high and economic opportunities are limited,” Coleman said. “That is why I am excited about this opportunity to deepen our understanding of the issues confronting our communities and to help develop policies that will help all Missourians prosper and thrive.”
Teer, an attorney, currently serves as Senior Counsel of Boards & Commissions in the Office of the Governor. He served two terms as a municipal judge in the City of St. Louis from 2005 to 2013 before the Governor appointed him to serve on the Administrative Hearing Commission. He previously was assistant city counselor for St. Louis City, a Missouri assistant attorney general, and an assistant St. Louis City circuit attorney. Teer has held numerous leadership positions with the Mound City Bar Association. He earned his undergraduate degree from Lincoln University and his law degree from the University of Missouri.