BOE seats on ballot

Published 6:28 am Friday, March 9, 2012

Four Democratic candidates are vying for positions on the Pike County Board of Educations. Two men from District 5 and two from District 6 will appear on the primary ballot.

District 5 incumbent Rev. Herbert Reynolds has served on the school board for 12 years, the same amount of time he’s been a pastor.

“We’ve increased our academics. We’ve got a new performing arts building going up. I tell people, in the last nine years, look at what we’ve accomplished.”

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Reynolds describes himself as a “community man” who returned to the area in 1997.

The school board’s financial situation has improved greatly during Reynolds’ time on the board, he said.

“We were rated among the poorest school systems,” Reynolds said. “We have grown to have a reserve and have not had to lay off a teacher because of proration.”

Reynolds, who serves as chairman of the City of Brundidge’s  Planning Board, said he’d like the opportunity to help the board keep it’s financial stability and see the school system grow to be competitive.

When people head to the polls Tuesday, Reynolds said he wanted voters, “to remember who it was they called on when they needed help,” in the past.

Challenging Reynolds is a newcomer to politics, but not education. Clint Foster, Ph.D is a homegrown Pike County man who graduated from Pike County High School and received his bachelors and masters degrees in Biology and General Science from Troy University.

Foster said he decided to run for the District 5 position because, after hearing from community members, he feels a change is necessary.

“If I am elected, my one vote will always be toward enhancing proactive environments for our students,” Foster said.

Foster, who was an educator for 14 years, said that many parents feel that their voices and concerns are not heard. He said that it is his strong hope to encourage other board members to listen more to their constituents, because they are elected to represent them.

Foster, who works for the State doing research in connection with Alabama’s colleges and universities, said that education is his passion.

“Given the true and uninterrupted opportunity to learn is very significant to me and we owe that to our next generation of children,” Foster said. “Education is the tool that sustains communities. Without education, we as people would perish.”

In District 6, Ken Styron and Jim Knight are going head to head to see who will face off with incumbent Republican candidate Chris Wilkes.

Ken Styron moved to Pike County a little more than 15 years ago because his son was about to enroll in school and Styron wasn’t satisfied with the school system where they lived.

Styron said he is running for the District 6 position because he doesn’t feel enough information from the school system reaches its way to parents in the county.

“I don’t believe in keeping people in the dark. Goshen gets left out of a lot of things,” Styron said. “I don’t believe in keeping people in the dark.”

Styron works at Sikorsky and is a volunteer coach in Goshen.

“My wife and I are very involved in the school and the things they do,” Styron said.

“Here, if it is good for the kids, I work hard to get it done. The same would be true if I was elected.”

Styron said that he’d like to explore grant options to bring more money into the school system and that he’d like to work to see test scores improve.

“I want to do the best job for the kids,” Styron said. “Whatever it takes.”

Jim Knight said it’s his 35 years of experience in education that makes him a top candidate for the District 5 board seat.

“I am knowledgeable of the day-to-day operations of the school system and understand the needs of the students and teachers and know how to work with them on improving,” Knight said.

Having taught agriculture for 20 years, Knight said vocational education is his passion.

“That would be an area I am interested in growing and improving,” Knight said. “Al students are not going to college and we can train them with certain skills they need to be successful.”

And it’s his time as an administrator that he feels will help the board with budges and grant writing.

Knight said he’s also worked with adult and community education programs, GED programs, career education and after school daycare.

Pike County residents can cast their votes for the candidate of their choice on March 13.