CHOCTAW COUNTY, Ala. (WTOK) – Choctaw County voters will decide between three candidates for superintendent of education on November 8th.
Incumbent Dorothy Banks, a Democrat, independent Dr. Tatshum Johnson and Republican Jacqui James are running for the seat.
The superintendent oversees important areas including developing a vision for the district, hiring staff, managing budgets and monitoring student success. All three candidates said they are prepared to face these tasks.
“I had 34 years of experience in education. “One thing I have over my opponents is my proven leadership,” Banks said. “I had to develop creative ways to ensure students in Choctaw County received effective virtual instruction during the pandemic in 2020.”
“The reason why I’m running, I’m still in education and I have friends in education. I can no longer sit by and see what is happening to our students and teachers. I think my experience in K-12 education can help,” Johnson said.
“I would like to focus on improving student achievement,” James said. “I would like to work with teachers, staff, parents, community and business leaders to make sure we are working together to give our children the best resources available.”
Candidates have been part of the school system in some way for many years. Everyone agreed that students are the future. They listed their educational achievements.
“I decided to continue my education and become a primary school teacher for a few years. I became assistant director and then director. After serving in these capacities for several years, I decided to become a stronger advocate for our students. That’s when I decided to run for superintendent. I have served two terms in a row. I am seeking a third term,” Banks said.
“I moved to Choctaw County 30 years ago. I have worked with K-12 public education for 15 years. I left K-12 and went into higher education at Auburn University. “I retired last December,” James said.
“I have completed a BS (bachelor of science), two masters, educational specialist and doctorate focusing specifically on rural school education. I have completed 30 years of educational experience. I’ve had the opportunity to serve public education students as a teacher, an instructional leader who teaches teachers to teach children,” Johnson said.
The candidates shared why voters should choose them.
“I believe God has chosen me to serve as superintendent of schools for Choctaw County Schools. I am the most qualified candidate. I am a servant leader. My vision is to serve Choctaw County Schools and the community, to do what is best for our Choctaw County children,” Johnson said.
“I have nothing to lose. Our children have a lot to lose if we don’t get good leadership in our school system. I can no longer sit by and watch what is happening to these children. They deserve much better. We have great teachers, we have great kids, but there is a disconnect somewhere because teachers are asked to do so much paperwork. They can’t learn anymore,” James said.
“People should re-elect me as supervisor because I’m the most experienced candidate,” Banks said. “I have dedicated my entire career to the Choctaw County School District. My children and grandchildren are all attending school here; therefore I am fully invested in the system.”
The superintendent race is on the Nov. 8 Choctaw County ballot.
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