Ellabell resident Wanda Lane qualified to run for the Board of Education District 2 seat last week, along with Dennis Seger who is also vying for the spot.
Currently, District 2 is represented by Billy Mock who said he was not going to run for another term on the board after serving for more than 20 years.
Lane, who previously owned and wrote for the Pembroke Post, said working in the newspaper business is how she started paying attention to local politics.
"I started to get interested in the issues the county commission and BoE were discussing and voting on," Lane said. "I originally looked into the commission. Then, people suggested I run for BoE."
Lane said she’s never been an educator, but put five children through school – four of which graduated from Bryan County – and currently has grandchildren in the school system.
"I know there are some hot topics that will be coming up that the board will have to vote on. I think that representing the people is very important; I think that’s what a position is all about," she said. "If elected, I would vote my conscience and my heart, and represent what the people want."
Lane admitted she’s not a very political person. Rather, she’s interested in the students and the community.
"I think we have a good district and a good school system, that’s one of the reasons why I moved here," she said. "But there are always things you can improve on…With growth, the issues include new schools and making choices to be sure the kids are getting the best education they possibly can in a safe environment. I’d like to be a part of that decision making process."
Lane said getting "back to the basics" is important, putting an emphasis on better communication between parents and school board members.
"I’ve heard a lot of things about how the board doesn’t seem to be approachable or accessible. I want to get out here and be one-on-one with the people and get their input. Whatever the issue is, I’d like to be informed and base my decisions on the facts and what the people want," she said. "I’ve never been in office but I’m a fast learner and education is something I’ve always been very passionate about."
Lane said she went back to get her GED after her husband passed away and became interested in reasons why students in the GED courses had dropped out. While she noted Bryan County doesn’t have a major issue with high school drop outs, she feels it’s very important to offer students other options and make sure they stay excited about education.
"Anything I do, I get people motivated. I’m a good leader and have good communication skills. I think communication is really important and it’s something that’s lacking in our school system," she said. "I think controversy is important because it creates dialogue and then you can resolve an issue through communication. I’ve been called a problem solver and I like a challenge. If I see a problem, I want to fix it. This position is not about prestige or honor; it’s about dedication and a commitment to something I believe in."
Lane has been a Bryan County resident for nearly 20 years. She ran the Pembroke Post for almost eight months, where she made many friends and contacts and said it was a successful endeavor as far as community response. She is currently a cashier at The Station.