School board election results encouraging

Voters in this past Saturday’s school board election decided it was time for a new direction in leadership on the board. The top two vote getters, Mr. Minor and Mr. Rhodes, will undoubtedly spend the next few days visiting homes and shaking a hands while preparing for next Saturday’s run off.

The great news is that voter turnout was fairly heavy, especially since this election has such a narrow focus–one board member from the district that lives in the county and outside of the city. The greater news is that the voters realized the magnitude of the opportunity to affect change in the district, starting at the top, and took the time this past Saturday–an absolutely perfect day to be doing anything else–to make their voice count.

Jessie Jones, the incumbent board member who was defeated in Saturday’s election, served in the position passionately. Though he made voting decisions sometimes against the grain, and district stakeholders did not agree with him at times, no one can question his dedication to serving the district for 17 years.

After speaking with the two remaining candidates prior to last Saturday’s election, my impression is that the race will be honorably run. Voters will get to choose their candidate based on whom will perform better in the position and which will better address the tough issues facing the district–a breath of fresh air considering what’s going on in presidential and congressional races in country.

So, the election of a new board member is a strong first step in getting Hazlehurst out of the shadows of mediocrity and into the limelight of excellence in producing top-quality, well-educated students. As I’ve heard others say the past few weeks, “we didn’t get into this mess overnight, and we won’t get out of it overnight.”

Joe Buck Coates

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