7 Candidates Take Aim At Chattooga Board Of Education Posts PDF Print E-mail
News - Local News
Friday, 09 March 2018 13:05
List of all qualifying today. . .
All the incumbents seeking re-election for the Chattooga County Board of Education will have opposition during the November General Election.
Incumbent Chairman Eddie Massey (D-Menlo) will have one or more people running against him. Political newcomer Andy Stivers, 36, (R-Menlo) has qualified to run against the chairman.
"As a former student, parent and educator of Chattooga County, I would like to continue being a positive and active memeber of the schools and community by running for the school board. I believe my views on school safety, education and the responisbilities of a board member will benefit our community," Stivers said.
Also, running as a Republican for the Menlo post is Sammy D. Ballard of Menlo. He qualified this morning.
Massey, the incumbent in the Menlo district, has spent 15 years on the board of education. He was appointed chairman of the board for eight years.
"I've always had an interest in the schools and all of our children have attended Chattooga County public schools. Nieces, nephews and I've got a granddaughter that started Pre-K. I've got a grandson that will start sometime," Massey said.
Massey, Ballard and Stivers are all self-employed. 
Incumbent Larry Weesner, (D-Lyerly) is running for a second full term. Weesner took office in June 2012 to fill an unexpired term. 
"I would like to see the completion of some of the things I started. I made the motion to build the high school. Of course it is completed, but it’s not paid off yet," Weesner said.
The high school will be paid off in four years from a 1-percent voter approved sales tax.
Weesner said he is seeking another term to build Menlo a gymnasium and oversee that student scores and the graduation rate continue to improve. The school system created a team of educators to increase student performance scores. Weesner wants to watch that program grow and become successful.
"Those ladies are doing a phenomenal job," Weesner said.
Weesner will have opposition. Educator Julia Houston, of Summerville, is running for a spot on the board of education. She's worked in the local school system and other surrounding counties. Currently she is an assistant professor at Shorter University.
The News tried contacting Houston on short notice Wednesday. We will have more from her and more interviews from all candidates in upcoming editions.
Incumbent Alma Lewis, (D-Pennville), is seeking another term in office. She is in her eighth year on the board of education.
With time as a teacher and administrator, she has 34 years of experience as an educator. 
"I like the point where we are at compared from where we came from. I think there is still more to do and support the teachers and the taxpayers at the same time. I just think we are on the right path and I would like to be part of that continuation," Lewis said.
Another educator, Brad Hayes from the Halls Valley community, is running for that Pennville post. He's spent 24 years in the education field. Currently he is the education administrator of the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy in Whitfield County. He is also a former principal.
Part of his political platform is making sure students, teachers and staff are safe at school. He said the recent school shootings highlight that problem. 
He also wants to develop a career pathway program for high school students. He wants to make sure students are heading toward a higher education or a type of apprenticeship. Hayes said there are several career pathway programs in other counties and would like to bring that idea to Chattooga County.
"A big area for me is student success," Hayes said. 
Living on the north end of the county and with his children attending Trion City Schools, Hayes said he would like to see more cooperation between the two school systems in the county. He believes a career pathway is one area the two could collaborate. 
"I have nothing against seeing Trion and Chattooga playing sports," Hayes said. "I hope to be someone people feel comfortable coming to and talking to."
Chattooga County State Court Judge John Dennis is in the minority this election so far. He does not have opposition. He is seeking his second full term as part-time judge. 
"I appreciate the support that we received during the first campaign and during these last four years, and I hope that you continue to support me as I make this second run," Judge Dennis said. "Our goal is simple: to deal fairly with all people, to help those we can help, not to give up on any person, and to administer justice while endeavoring to do so efficiently without wasting our taxpayers’ dollars. We want to work with our schools, adult education classes and community resources to make our citizens and our county a better place," he added.
Two Lookout Mountain Judicial Court judgeships are up. Incumbent Ralph Van Pelt Jr., of Ringgold is seeking re-election. He is being opposed by political newcomer Melissa Gifford Hise, of Flintstone.
Judge Don Thompson has qualified for his post. This will be his first election since being appointed to office by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. He is running unopposed. 

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