Chris Storms knew what he wanted to do for a living the moment he enrolled in what is now known as the University of Central Missouri.
Storms, one of four candidates for three open seats on the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s Board of Education and an incumbent, graduated from then CMSU in 1991 with a major in criminal justice and a minor in business.
Currently a senior national account representative for Stanley Security, Storms wasted little time combining the two career choices.
“I didn’t want to go into law enforcement,” Storms said during a recent afternoon visit to one of his favorite meeting spots in Lee’s Summit, an eatery in the SummitWoods Crossing area. “Most people I tell them that and they think, ‘oh.’ I was already working in private security. When I was in college I worked at Kmart in loss prevention and I wanted to stay in private security, corporate security.
“I majored in criminal justice with a minor in business because at that time there wasn’t any security programs. I kind of tailored it myself and that’s pretty much all I’ve ever done, work in corporate security. Even now, what I do working for Stanley Security, which is a division of Stanley Black and Decker. That’s what I do. That’s where the tie-in is now. It just developed over time.”
Storms’ career arc has given him the opportunity and flexibility to support his two sons, ages 15 (Austin) and 17 (Alec), both students and lacrosse players at Lee’s Summit West High School. In fact, a day before meeting with the Journal, Storms ushered both of his boys to the orthodontist for routine dental exams.
Although the older son now drives, Storms gets a thrill out of the chauffeur-style responsibilities. However, having a licensed driver in the home has cut those requirements a great deal.
Still, Storms is an avid supporter of his boys and their activities.
“Most of the things I do revolve around my kids,” said the 48-year-old Storms, a member of the R-7 school board for three years. “For me, it’s easier because I work from home and I kind of make my own schedule work-wise. It makes it a little easier if they’ve got stuff – something at school or a doctor’s appointment or whatever. It’s easy for me to pick them up and take them. I do a lot of that stuff. Even thought my oldest drives now, you still have to keep track of them. That’s they biggest thing, doing stuff with them and being available for them.”
Storms’ sons are a freshman and a junior at West.
“They both got started in lacrosse when the (club) program got started,” Storms said. “The guy that started lacrosse there my oldest son was on his football team. That’s kind of how it got started; (the coach) played lacrosse in college. He goes to kids on his football team, ‘hey, you guys should try playing lacrosse.’ They messed around a little bit and that’s kind of how the program started.
“I love it. It was kind of difficult at first because it was nothing I ever played or anything, so learning the rules and the differences of the game were difficult, but it’s a fun sport to watch if you know a little about it. It’s kind of like a mix of soccer and football. I’ve gotten use to it a little bit.”
Storms has spent many days traveling to matches throughout the metropolitan area.
“Lacrosse in the United Stated is the fastest growing youth sport in America right now,” Storms said. “It’s still a club sport here, but (the Missouri State High School Athletic Association) is going to have to pick it up soon. There are enough schools that’s adding the program they’ll end up having to sanction it. It’s a great sport.”
Storms, who has been married to wife Audra eight years in June, said he first got involved in school “stuff” back in the fall of 2002. At the time, the district only offered half-day kindergarten classes and Storms was a part of a committee that studied the issue for about a year. Eventually, the district would add full-day kindergarten classes.
“That was the first committee that I served on,” Storms said of an opportunity that would eventually lead to years down the educational path.
“He is very intelligent when it comes to our school district,” said fellow school board member Phyllis Balagna, the owner of Steppin’ Out -The Studio who is serving her second full year on the board. “I respect him greatly. We all sort of look at him when we have certain questions pertaining to school board policies, especially when it comes to financial matters because I know he works closely in that entity. He is on top of his game when it comes to the school board.”
This is the second in a series of profiles on the four candidates who are running for the three open seats on the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s Board of Education.