New School Bd. member Gaines-Heath shares plans

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 11:32 AM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Dougherty County Schools take in less than a month from now, and students and parents in School Board District 2 have new leadership.

Norma Gaines-Heath is the newest board of education member for the school system after winning a runoff election with 60% of the vote.

Gaines-Heath plans to stay busy and already has a lot of ideas. She said the school system has lost many teachers recently, so one of her goals is going to be working on recruiting more.

“We need to look at how we can recruit and how we can retain qualified staff members. Not sure what the position the board is currently in as far as incentives to offer to them, but we want to do all we can in our powers to ensure we have qualified staff,” said Gaines-Heath.

Student safety is on the top of her list. Norma Gaines-Health is also asking parents and guardians to treat the first day of school like it’s mandatory, because it is.

“That is so vitally important that parents are aware of our start dates and our start times. And I do understand, having been in the classroom, how parents want to do those last-minute things and come on the second day, but we want to ensure that our parents and students are in school on the first day,” she said.

And as a former educator, it’s her past experience with parents and students that makes her uniquely qualified to succeed in this new role, she said.

“I know from the perspective of being a classroom teacher all the things that education entails. I’ve interacted with my students tremendously; I’ve interacted with parents, so I know the parental perspective. I know the struggles that our parents go through in order to educate their child,” she said.

Wednesday is the first school board meeting since she’s been elected, according to the Dougherty County Schools website. Gaines-Heath thanks the voters for giving her this opportunity.

“I will not let them down. I am not saying I have a magic wand that I can wave and make everything better, but I am willing to try.”

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