Longtime educator Franklin Perry Sr. has decided to challenge Democratic incumbent Almond Turner for the District 4 board of education seat.
Perry, 65, is a middle school assistant principal in Greene County, but previously served as superintendent of the Twiggs and Sumter county school systems. He also previously served as principal for the local Clements Middle School for four years.
"This is home and I'm at the stage of my career now where I can really afford to take the time to serve. I served kids in all these places, in Sumter and Twiggs and Greene and Richmond (Va.), and now I want to serve the county that gave me so much," Perry said Monday.
Perry graduated from R.L. Cousins High School, where former band director T.K. Adams helped Perry turn his life around.
"Teachers put me down, and, to be honest, I didn't apply myself the way I should have becauseI didn't feel good. (Adams) came along, I was one of the best clarinet players around, and he said if I can do that as well as I can, then can I get math and science and everything else," Perry said. "If that was done for me then I at least owe it to do the same things for these kids."
Perry is running on a platform of improving student achievement through school discipline, improving hiring and retention practices for teachers, supporting teachers and improving teacher morale.
He said has experience at every level of education, including teacher, band director, assistant principal, principal at both a middle and high school, assistant superintendent and superintendent.
"If you're going to have a great district, student achievement has to be the focus, but student discipline and culture of the school has to be fixed. Then teachers have to be supported. It's a difficult job teaching today, which leads to hiring practices. If student achievement is going to be higher than we have to hire and retain the best people," Perry said. "We have to have children that respect the adults in that school."
Perry said he wouldn't micromanage as a board member but would be accessible.
"Motivation is my strength. I love people. I'm not afraid to get around, I can be called anytime. I'm not going to micromanage if I'm on the board, but (parents) can be sure I'll point them in the right direction where they can get help for their child. Really that's why I'm running. I want to make a difference and I want to make it at home.
Perry earned his doctorate in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University in 1995, a master's degree in music education from Virginia State University in 1972 and a bachelor's degree from South Carolina State University in 1968.
He completed both state and national superintendent training programs.
Perry was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1969, serving a two-year tour with an infantry division in Seoul, South Korea.
In addition to teaching, he has also previously owned two car dealerships.
Perry is a member of Springfield Baptist Church and the Newton County Community Band. He previously served on the Covington YMCA's board of directors as well as other organizations in Sumter County.
He lived in Macon for several years, but said he also maintained a home in Newton County off Cook Road and has remained involved here during the years.
His wife Shirley is also a teacher, including a former family and consumer science teacher at Eastside High School. His daughter, Stephanie Perry Moore, is an author who lives in Conyers, and his son, Franklin Perry Jr., works at an automotive business in Atlanta and lives in Covington. Perry has three grandchildren.
"I've been there and I have actually functioned as a superintendent. I've had training with board members when it comes to the budget. I had to develop the budget rather than the superintendent bringing it and to me. I know school climate having been a principal and working on discipline and curriculum. That's what I've done all my life," he said.
For more information, contact Perry at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (678)251-6431.