Newcomers Gailey, Madden compete for school board seat
Editor’s note: The Franklin County Citizen Leader sent five questions to candidates for two school board races. Their responses were then written as the stories below. The questions were 1. What qualities and/or qualifications do you feel you will bring to the position? 2. What are the biggest challenges currently facing the school system and how would you address them? 3. What are your plans if you are elected to the position? 4. What improvements or changes would you like to see take place in the school system in the future? 5. What is the proper role of extracurricular activities (sports, theatre, FFA, etc.) in the local educational system and how should they be funded?
Gailey: ‘I want the very best education for children’
If elected, Randall Gailey would come to the Post 3 seat on the Franklin County Board of Education without any specific agenda, he said.
“I want to focus on our students, teachers and administration. They are the Franklin County School System,” he said. “I have the ability to demonstrate being responsible fiscally with the taxpayers’ revenue. I want all Franklin County citizens to know I will have an open door policy so that they may feel comfortable communicating with me, whatever the reason. I want it to be a smooth transition and be able to work with the current board and superintendent, continuing the progress already set in place. I want to honor our traditions, but at the same time, follow our system’s mission statement by educating and preparing our students to live and work successfully in a dynamic and challenging world.”
Gailey, who works as Franklin County’s recreation director, points to that experience and his past service as qualifications for the position.
“First and foremost, I have a genuine love for the children in Franklin County and want the very best education for them in our school system,” he said. “I manage a recreation budget daily, being fiscally responsible for the tax revenue.”
He said he would do the same as a Franklin County school board member.
Gailey retired from the Lavonia Fire Department after 25 years of service, “being dedicated and committed as a fireman.
“My family and I are life-long residents of Franklin County, we grew up in the Franklin County School System and are committed to making it the very best it can be for our grandchildren and all other students in our school system,” he said.
Gailey worked in the aerospace industry for 19 years and had many responsibilities and commitments, he said.
“I believe in leadership from myself and respect from others in order to build character,” he said. “I am capable of understanding that there are limits imposed sometimes by laws and policies, but also have a creative mind to figure out ways to get things done. I enjoy being hands-on in any task I undertake.”
Gailey said the budget is the biggest challenge for the school system each year.
“I would make sure that our classrooms and teachers are funded adequately in order to educate our students to their full potential,” he said. “I would try to save in other areas when possible so that our classrooms/teachers do not suffer due to lack of funding.”
Students must also buy into education – whether a college degree or technical school diploma or certificate -- as a key to success, Gailey said.
“We must continue to improve our graduation rate and at the same time get our students ready for the workforce,” he said.
Gailey listed several improvements he would like to see.
“I would like to help our students, teachers, and administration in the effort of continuing to improve our graduation rate,” he said. “Since we have recently upgraded our academic building at the high school, I would like to support the vocational department so that students can be successful in this area of academia as well. This is an important area of our school system in today’s world. I would like to continue improving our well-maintained facilities in order for them to remain pristine for many years to come, in turn saving taxpayers’ money. In the long run, by doing this it should free up monies to enhance the classrooms.”
Gailey said that extracurricular activities are the backbone of school pride for students.
“Many times those activities are what motivate students to stay in school,” he said. “From elementary school through high school, students participate in extracurricular activities. From Junior Olympics and 4-H to FFA events, TSA competitions, fine arts and sports, school pride begins to develop at a young age.”
The extracurricular activities help build well-rounded students who develop different skill sets that benefit students for life, he said.
“Children build relationships, respect, character, leadership skills and loyalty through participating in these programs,” he said. “With students having a variety of interests, it is important to have varied activities.”
Funding for extracurricular activities should be achieved by ticket sales, concessions, fundraisers, donations and the school system’s annual reverse raffle fundraiser, he said.
Madden: ‘Always seek the betterment of system’
Listening is a big part of Jeremy Madden’s plans if he is elected to the Post 3 seat on the Franklin County Board of Education.
“If I am elected to the Franklin County Board of Education, I plan to listen to the concerns of parents, faculty, staff, business owners and concerned citizens of Franklin County,” he said. “I plan to learn as much as I can in order to be able to make informed and wise decisions when challenges arise. I plan to always seek the betterment of the Franklin County School system for all participants and stakeholders.”
Madden said his life experience has prepared him for the position.
“I understand what it takes to overcome tough challenges,” he said. “I have overcome many in my adolescent, adult and professional life. The challenges that I have faced and overcome have prepared me to be a Franklin County Board of Education member.”
Madden graduated with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering technology from Southern Tech.
He has worked as a mechanical engineer for air valve manufacturer Ross Controls in Lavonia for 19 years.
Madden has also worked for the Boeing Company in Washington state and for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in South Carolina and Oregon.
Madden has been very involved in the community.
He serves on the Franklin County High School Technology Education Advisory Board, as a deacon and small group leader for fifth graders at The Journey at Lavonia First Baptist Church, as a volunteer at the Step of Faith Outreach afterschool program at The Learning Center in Lavonia and on the Lavonia City Parks Advisory Board.
Madden is also a member of the Friends of the Lavonia Carnegie Library.
Teachers face the toughest challenges in the school system, Madden said.
“Teachers are having to teach to pass a test while being stressed in ways unimaginable when they decided to become teachers,” he said. “I would address these challenges by making sure that teachers always have adequate resources, support from parents and staff, and a stable working environment in order teach our children in creative, fun, new and exciting ways. Our children must be prepared for the challenging workforce that they will enter upon graduation or the college that they choose to attend and further their capacity for learning.”
Madden has goals for improvement in every level of the school system.
“I would like to see improvements made to provide more consistency and a safe, stable, and trusting work environment among the elementary schools in Franklin County,” he said. “I would like to see a welcoming and trusting environment at our middle school. I would like to see our high school improve in discipline and focus.”
Franklin County should be able to compete in extracurricular activities, he said.
“The proper role of extracurricular activities should be to provide avenues for students of Franklin County to gain confidence, learn discipline, how to work as a team and how to work for and with others,” Madden said. “Our coaches, teachers, directors, mentors and leaders should be guiding our students to be and to achieve what they have not even dreamed that they could. Our students are talented and bright and world class. We can and should compete and win among school systems that have more resources at their disposal. We know how to be fast, efficient, resourceful, creative and smart because it is engrained in our culture.”