Marianne Smith, who represents District 4 on the Bryan County Schools Board of Education, today announced she is running for re-election.
“I am excited about the potential opportunity to continue to serve on the board of education,” Smith said in a prepared statement. “I believe we are moving in a forward direction and want to continue to support the great work we are doing.”
Smith was first elected to the board in 2012 in a special election to fill an unexpired term, and was unopposed in her 2014 re-election bid.
Calling it a “challenge,” Smith said the growth of the district was a big factor in her decision.
“We are in the middle of planning for a new elementary and replacement high school,” she said. “I feel continuous representation in this area will provide ongoing oversight and positive stewardship of the taxpayers' dollars.”
Bryan County Schools expects to grow by some 3,500 students over the next decade. The board is in the planning stages for a new elementary school and new high school in South Bryan, and plans call for opening those schools in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Smith, a nurse by training, said she has two children in the schools already and a daughter who will be eligible for Pre-K in the fall.
“I am active in discussions with parents and community members and teachers,” she said. “I try to listen to all of my constituents and represent the needs of our community. I overwhelmingly hear concerns about growth and continuing to provide great schools for our children.”
She also noted her interests in the social development of students and teacher retention as reasons for seeking re-election.
“I am passionate about decreasing bullying and have lead the board to an increased focus on bullying awareness and prevention,” she said. “I have wholeheartedly supported additional social workers and counselors to help address our students' emotional needs and will continue to request that we evaluate and respond to our ongoing commitment in this area.
“Another area I will continue to focus on is retaining excellent teachers,” she added. “I have supported increased pay for our teachers, increased classroom support (such as our new instructional lead teachers) and decreased class sizes.”
Smith is the second school board member to announce her candidacy. Amy Murphy, who currently represents District 3, said last week she would resign that seat — which runs through 2018 — to run for chair. Eddie Warren, the current chair, has not said if he will seek re-election. District 1 and District 5, currently represented by Paine Bacon and David Schwartz, are also up for re-election this year.