Friends, Colleagues, and Neighbors,
While thinking about my candidacy for the School Board of Columbia County, Georgia, I have come to a conclusion. Education is an odd profession. I don’t mean the profession itself. I mean how we think of education. In almost every field, there is some board, governing body, or executive council that is tasked with overseeing the profession. For lawyers, it is the Bar Association. For doctors, it is the American Medical Association. Engineers? In Georgia we have the Georgia Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. In each of these professions, experts in the field are tasked with making decisions. In fact, according to the state website regarding the Georgia Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, “The Board consists of nine members appointed by the Governor for a term of five years: six professional engineers, two land surveyors, and a member appointed from the public at large.”
So, why is it in education, the profession that has a direct influence on the future of society, do we give this task to lawyers, politicians, accountants, business people, and a host of other professions? Why isn’t the school board made up of educators?
Now, I do think that there should be representation of the community on a school board. However, like the Georgia Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, the bulk of the membership should be educators. In a 2009 study, the Council of Great City Schools found that only 14% of urban school board members were educators. This mirrors the 17% that I discovered doing research during my doctoral work.
So, why is it that we want professionals from the field to oversee other professions, but not in education? Being a teacher, educator, administrator, or other educational professional is not easy. It requires a degree. It requires certification. It requires certification examinations. Yes, representation of the community is important and essential to an effective school board. But, shouldn’t the bulk of decision makers be educators?
My name is Andrew Kemp. I am running for the Columbia County School Board in Georgia. I was a public school teacher for 9 years. I was a program coordinator for two years. I have a Master’s and Doctorate in education. I have taught in a College of Education for 10 years. I have the requisite knowledge and experience to help lead Columbia County Schools.
With the exception of a year, I have been a teacher or a student for my entire life. I have taught on many different levels. I have been a middle school teacher (okay, for one semester for student teaching...because of this, I have a profound respect for middle school teachers), high school, undergraduates and graduate students. I have coached soccer in youth leagues and high school. Education is in my blood.