Smith runs for reelection

Tue, 05/20/2008 - 4:01pm
By: Letters to the ...

I am pleased to announce my intention to seek re-election as member of Fayette County Board of Education for Post 2.

I am a 29-year resident of Fayette County, having moved here with my parents, Tony and Linda Smith, as a teenager. I graduated from Fayette County High School in 1982. My husband, Chip Smith, graduated from Fayette County High School in 1979. (Yes, I was a Smith before I married a Smith.) We have been married for almost 20 years, have three teenaged children attending Fayette public schools, and live in Brooks.

I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary english education and worked as an English teacher at Fayette County High School and Flat Rock Middle School. I believe I bring a broad perspective to my work on the board, having been a student, teacher and parent in our school system.

I began my first term on the board in 2001. I am particularly proud to have been elected chair by my fellow board members every year since 2003.

I believe my ability to treat board members, staff members and community members with respect and courtesy even in the face of controversy and high emotions has led to this leadership position.

Under my leadership, the Fayette County Board of Education has been honored with the Georgia School Boards Association’s Board of Standards and Board of Distinction.

I have worked tirelessly to ensure that Fayette County’s governance and leadership adheres to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation standards for ethical leadership.

It is very tempting as a former educator to attempt to influence the day-to-day operations of the system. We must always remember that the function of the board is to hire the best superintendent available to administer the district’s business. Interfering with the administration of departments is a clear violation of board member ethics.

Education credentials may be impressive and a background in education gives perspective, but members of the board have no individual authority to supervise or train teachers.

I was nominated by the president of the Georgia School Boards Association to represent Fayette County and Georgia in Washington, D.C., for the National School Boards Association’s Federal Relations Network. I spoke to Fayette’s legislative delegation, Senator Chambliss, Senator Isakson, and Representative Westmoreland, regarding issues related to federal funding and IDEA and No Child Left Behind.

I attend all the required continuing education for board members provided by Georgia School Boards Association, focusing on legal issues and policy development in particular.

In addition, I serve on the Georgia School Boards Association Governmental Operations Committee, which works to develop positions to assist Georgia lawmakers in making decisions that benefit public school students and employees.

Our board and administrative staff meet with Fayette’s Georgia legislative delegation yearly to discuss emerging issues and communicate with them individually throughout the year on state government’s impact on local concerns

When I think of all I have learned during the past eight years, I marvel at how much coordinated effort it takes to run a school system. What other Fayette County business employs more people, runs a transportation department, provides food services to students and employees, keeps students and employees safe and secure, all the while delivering top notch instruction?

Since I began serving on the board:

• AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) was achieved by 100 percent of Fayette County schools since the implementation of No Child Left Behind. Therefore, no Fayette County school has been identified as a “needs improvement” school.

• All Title I elementary schools earned the Title I Distinguished School Award, meaning the schools made AYP under the No Child Left Behind Act for three or more years.

• Under the Highly Qualified Teacher Program of No Child Left Behind, 99.7 percent of Fayette’s teachers are highly qualified.

• Four after-school programs earned national accreditation from the National After-School Association. Fayette is the only system in Georgia to have nationally accredited after-school programs.

• An elementary school teacher was the recipient of the 2005 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.

• Fayette had the first middle school in the Atlanta metro area to earn the “Lighthouse Schools to Watch” designation in 2003. This school was also recognized at the National Schools to Watch Conference sponsored by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform.

• Fayette is the home of the middle school National Science Olympiad champions with a total of nine first place finishes in the last 12 years.

• Fayette’s average SAT scores have ranged approximately 37 points higher than the national average score and 76 points above the state average score.

• Fayette County’s graduation rate is 98.6 percent. The national average graduation rate is 75 percent.

• ACT test takers increased 24 percent from 2007 n 2008 with Fayette’s composite score exceeding the state and national average scores.

• Advanced Placement test takers increased by 11.7 percent, while passing scores increased by 11.4 percent over the prior year.

• A $1 million grant was awarded to the school system for a third time by the Teaching American History grant program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.

• Four schools have earned the U. S. Department of Education’s prestigious Blue Ribbon for outstanding educational programs in the last eight years.

• Fayette County has 54 nationally board certified teachers, the teaching profession’s highest credential.

• Expansion Management Magazine awarded Fayette its sixth gold medal award for academic achievement, meaning the school system placed in the top 16 percent of all systems nationwide.

It is clear that Fayette County School Systems Instructional Department has the skills necessary to prepare students for whatever path they choose in life. The Fayette County School System lives up to its commitment to excellence through effective instruction, high expectations and continued improvement.

Not only does our system outshine our neighbors in Georgia, we shine brightly throughout the nation. Not only have the educational professionals of Fayette County created a great foundation for success, they are example to the nation for instructional practices.

Please vote for Terri Smith for School Board Post 2 in the Republican Primary on July 15, 2008, to ensure that Fayette County’s schools maintain the momentum of continued improvement.

Feel free to contact me at for more information.

Terri Smith

Brooks, Ga.

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