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Houston BOE Runoff: The Concerned Parent vs. The Engineer
by Paul Rea
Nov 23, 2010 | 2559 views | 1 1 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Houston County voters have an important job ahead next week. We have to return to the polls to decide who will represent all of us on the School Board.

Our choices are Incumbent School Board member Griff Clements or Northside High School Council Chairman Jim Maddox.

Both men appeared separately on Newsnight on the Patriot last week to make their case for your vote.

The Concerned Parent

When Jim Maddox’s son, who is now a high school senior, was in kindergarten Maddox volunteered to be in charge of Perry Elementary School’s field day activities. That marked the beginning of a long public service career. “Seven years later I was still in charge of field day,” he recalls. “Then I did stints with PTO at two different schools and school councils at three different schools. I’ve just been real involved.”

As Chairman of Northside High School’s Council, Maddox took the lead on behalf of his neighbors in lobbying the school board about the plan to divide up the county into new school zones. It was that experience that led him to seek a seat on the board. “We have a great school system and we are very fortunate we truly are but as with everything we can do better and that was the main impetus for me to run.”

As a father of three current Houston County students, Maddox says he can offer a perspective others on the BOE lack. “None of our current school board members have children in the school system. Many of them have children that have graduated and moved on but today no one has kids in the schools,” he says. “I hear it every day. The kids come home from school and say ‘guess what happened today!’ That parent’s perspective is missing from our school board currently.”

The Engineer

Board member Griff Clements says he saw a need for his specific experience on Houston County School Board. “I work for the City of Warner Robins as a utility engineer and they (Houston County Schools) submitted a set of drawings to my office that were probably one of the worst sets of drawings I had ever seen. So I got upset and wanted to know why.” The answer he got, that what he had witnessed was normal operating procedure, made him even more upset. “I went home and told my wife and she said ‘why don’t you do something about it?’ and so I did.”

8 years later Clements says you can see his engineering influence in each school. Most of the fixtures are now interchangeable meaning they can buy pieces in bulk and save on maintenance costs.

Clements says putting together the right people to run such a high performing school system has not been as easy. “When I first came on the board we had a superintendent from Texas and nobody seemed to get along with him. As a group our board put a local home grown, home educated person in there who knew the system and knew the community and it worked,” he explains. “We’ve made sure that every teacher we have in the system is teaching in their field. They’re highly qualified teachers. We’ve tried to keep class sizes small and all those things combine to create a group of people who really care.”

Clements says he still sees a need for his voice on the board and would like to return to continue the work. “I’m one of those people who what you see is what you get. I’ll always tell you the truth and I’ll always try my best.”

Tuesday night at 6:30 Clements and Maddox will meet face to face on WRWR-TV in our Debate in the Mid-State.

WRWR-TV is on channel 112 on Cox Cable. On ComSouth the station is available in full HDTV on channel 212. You can pick up our over the air signal at 38.1 on your HD antenna.

Early voting in the runoff continues Tuesday and Wednesday. Election Day is November 30.

Comments
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Amie--MOM
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January 22, 2014
I want someone who will listen to the parents and kids to be elected!!!! The current school board, including the most recently re-elected member Marianne Melnick, does not seem to listen to the people. It was "good old boy politics" at the recent rezoning.

The people were silenced and ignored!! We, the people of Houston CO, want a democracy and not a dictatorship.