Now I know what it must be like to open the morning paper and read my own obituary. Over the past few issues of The News-Times, supporters of Lee Mums and Lawrence Hammond have been swiping at each other as if they were the only two choices in the election for county-wide chairman of the School Board.
After Hammond's campaign chairman wrote his letter of Oct. 18, I received offers of letters on my behalf from my supporters. My response was that I have been speaking out for myself for most of my life and I don't need someone else to start doing it for me now.
So let me tell you why I am the best candidate for this inaugural two-year term as chairman of the School Board. The best one-word answer is experience. It has been my privilege to serve on the school board for the past eight years. I am the only candidate in this race who has experience as chairman and vice-chairman.
Under my leadership as chairman, the board held the first board retreat in six-plus years; held quarterly Saturday forums so citizens could address board members; increased the discipline at the alternative school; strengthened and unified the student Code of Conduct; added additional public safety officers; reduced class sizes in elementary schools; convened a task force of experts from local industry and higher education to evaluate the system's use of technology; added collaborative planning time for elementary teachers; funded professional development for teachers so they are equipped to teach the new Georgia Performance Standards; and, surveyed the public and adjusted the school calendar per their recommendations.
During the four years that Muns served on the board, he was rarely successful in coming to a consensus with the other four board members. A quote from his Web site states, "I would like to lead a collaborative effort together with the other board members." Frankly, after experiencing his heavy-handed approach while he was a board member, I don't see that happening. ...
I don't want to ignore Hammond's place in this race as his campaign manager ignored me. Riding around the county, it is easy to see that he is spending the most money on campaigning. Where is that money coming from? According to his campaign disclosure, the builders and developers are investing a good bit to secure his election. ...
The high quality of our school system is what attracts people to Columbia County. Let me assure you that it is the strength of our academics that comes first to our parents. I am the only candidate with an extensive background in education and 23 years dedicated to supporting Columbia County schools as a volunteer. The training that I have received from the Georgia School Boards Association while serving on the board prepares me to take this position and be ready to lead immediately. I promise to continue to putting student learning first and supporting the teachers and staff in this challenge.
On Nov. 7, put politics aside for the sake of our children. Remember experience makes a difference and vote for me as your county-wide School Board chairman.
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