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Gilbert mother, volunteer, businesswoman announces her run for Lexington One School Board

Gilbert, SC (Paul Kirby) Gilbert resident Jada Garris has announced she will run for the open seat on Lexington School District One’s Board of Trustees. Garris says she has been involved in the district all of her life from the first day she went to school 35 years ago. Her children have also always attended Gilbert schools, and she currently has a daughter at the high school and a son at the middle school.

Garris is active as a volunteer at Gilbert area schools working with the duty-free lunch program, chaperoning field trips, and serving as a Rolling Reader. She was also a bus driver for Gilbert until 2017 and served on the district’s Bus Driver Advisory Council. Garris was recognized at the state level when she was awarded the Humanitarian Award by the SC Association of Pupil Transportation for having a positive and dramatic impact on her community. Currently, she works as a freelance court reporter. Garris said recently, “I enjoy living in a small town and hanging out with my chickens,” a hobby she enjoys.

Garris said in her release regarding her campaign that her platform for this seat on the school board is simple. It is not about gaining political power or personal agendas, she wants the parents and voters to be educated about the district and the processes of the board. Garris said that the school board has had a hand in every position that’s been cut in past years, every wasted dollar spent, every kid that is bullied and doesn't get the support they need. She feels as if she’s elected to the board, she will do a better job than those who’ve held many of the seats there in the past.

Garris said, “When I was an employee of the district, I began looking for the reasons behind much of the dysfunction in my department. To find my answers, I started attending board meetings and soon realized that what is taking place in the boardroom filtered all the way down the employees, parents and students. Our current board approves everything the district office and superintendent ask for; they are in agreement with whatever is brought before them. There is currently no public dissent or open discussion. The current board members have not been independent thinkers when handling district processes. This organizational culture must be turned around so that the tail is not wagging the dog.” She went on to say that she believes that it is essential to our students and community that the board provides transparency and accountability. They need to ensure that the taxpayer money is well spent and our children are well served. “This is why I have decided to step up and be an agent of change,” she said.

Garris went on to say that she believes that teachers and support staff in Lexington District One are doing a great job and are forced to do it with limited resources and support. “Our teachers are investing in the well-being of our children and they care about our community. They deserve to have a responsive school board that comes to the table with ALL of the stakeholders in this community,” she went on to say. Garris said as it stands now, the only people at the table are the board members and the senior leadership team at the district office. The senior leadership team consists of six chiefs of departments that are allowed to meet with school board members in executive session, behind closed doors, and direct the course of the district. Garris said she wants to know why teachers and staff members on the front lines have no influence in this district.“This board doesn’t seem to mind that although teachers, parents, students and citizens of this county have a vested interest in the success of this school district, they have no real opportunity to provide feedback,” she emphasized.

In closing, Garris said, “This is a special election that drew 7 candidates. There will not be a new 'class' of board members filling spots. When elected, I will join an already functioning board that has set process. Because I have been attending school board meetings for several years now, I stand in the best position to hit the ground running. There will be no learning curve for me.”

Garris would appreciate your support in the upcoming special election on June 19th, 2018. You can reach her by e-mail at jadagarris@aol.com.

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