Accountant Mandy North has been doing some homework when it comes to her bid for the Rockdale County school board Post I seat in July.
As a mother of three, ranging in age from 14 to 19, and owner of two home-based businesses, a tax preparation service and a billboard company, North had little extra time until recently.
"My friends would say you ought to run for school board because I’m so passionate about education," said North.
Now that her youngest is headed to high school, she's able to get more involved in the community.
She began talking with current school board members, Superintendent Dr. Samuel King and cabinet in January to find out what is involved in being a school board member.
"I wanted to make sure I would be able to make a difference. I feel like with my financial background, I bring all the skills to the table. I feel like I represent the small business owner, the taxpayer, the parent."
One of the biggest misconceptions she found she had was on the role of school board members, she said.
"I think there’s a big confusion among citizens about what school board members can do. What (the school board does) is set policy. The state sets the curriculum," she said.
One of the major tasks of the board is to pass a budget for Rockdale County Public Schools - a job that North said she has the background to do.
"I am a CPA. No one has to explain to me how to look at a budget. I have been in corporate America," she said. North worked for Bellsouth for eight years before she left after her third child was born. She said she would be able to bring outside-the-box thinking to the budget process in hopes of avoiding a a tax increase.
Another issue she's heard about from friends who are educators, although North said she's reserving comment until she's gotten more information, is discipline in the classroom and how to handle students that need to be disciplined.
"I feel strongly every kid can learn, given a quality teacher. You need to have a classroom that’s a good environment, not a distraction."
She added, "Education of our kids is not to be left alone to the schools. It takes parent involvement and community involvmenet as well. I think there may be a lot of senior citizens who might need to get out of the house. Let them be a mentor... I think everybody needs to be involved with our education. Our county needs to be able to say we’ve got some of the best schools in the state."
Another issue is communication from the schools to the public. "One thing I feel like definitely needs improvement is communication" to parents, she said. "They need to come up with better forms of communication," she said.
A native Atlantan, North grew up in DeKalb County, attending Redan Elementary, Redan High School, and Georgia State University for her bachelor's in business administration, before moving to Rockdale 19 years ago.
"We actually moved to the county for the school system. It was like having a private school in your backyard," she said. "I would like to see us get back to that."
Her children attended Lorraine Elementary, Davis Middle, and Heritage High School.
North will be facing professor and consultant Charcella C. Green on the July 31 ballot for the non-partisan election.
For more information, contact North at email@example.com.