Richmond Hill resident Charles "Charlie" Johnson has announced his intention to run for the Bryan County Board of Education third district seat.
Johnson said he decided to run because he feels the parents of Bryan County don’t have a big enough voice when it comes to the school district and he thinks it is critical for more parents to get involved.
"I looked at myself to see how involved I was and I realized it wasn’t enough," he said. "My son will graduate from Richmond Hill High School next year but I’m not doing this just for my kid – I’m doing this for all our kids."
Johnson said he’d like to be that conduit between the community and the school board, getting the public’s voice back in the process.
He said if elected, he wants to investigate ways to give children more opportunities to expand their learning.
"Instead of saying no so quickly, I’d like to try and find ways for the board/administrators to say yes to different opportunities," he said. "This way, we’re making sure our kids are getting the best education they can and benefit from every opportunity available. They’re our future leaders and a well rounded, positive education is important."
Johnson named communication on both sides of the fence as one of the biggest issues facing the district.
"I think the board and the community need to improve their communication with each other," he said. "I’d like to see more parents come to meetings; I want to let them know their opinions matter and I want them to be comfortable with coming forward and saying what they think. The board needs to continue to work with the people who elected them and make sure the decisions are always made with a focus on what’s best for the children and satisfactory for the parents. I think right now, a lot of parents feel like their voices aren’t represented. And I’d like to meet with them and find out what their issues are. If they don’t get involved now and voice their opinions, nothing will change."
Johnson said he is passionate about serving the community as a member of the school board. His previous experience in the military, working with men and women right out of high school, showed him how important the school district is for the future of the community.
"I really care about this – I care about our kids," he said. "We need to make their education enjoyable. I want these kids to have pride in their extracurricular activities, to be excited about being a part of a club or organization or team – and know the school board, administration and community are all behind them."
Johnson has lived in Bryan County for nearly five years now.
"I chose to live in Richmond Hill because I heard it was a good community and the education was good," he said. "I want to do my part to continue that – and speak up for change if and when it’s needed. I’m in this for the long haul; it is a commitment I’m willing to make."
Johnson has been a single parent for 12 years and raised two children. He has a 21-year-old daughter at AASU and his son is a junior at RHHS. He currently works for the Department of Homeland Security with the United States Coast Guard in Savannah and is a retired military officer.
The qualifying week will run from 9 a.m. on April 28 through May 2 at noon. June 16 is the last day for Bryan County residents to register and be eligible to vote in the election.
Editor’s note: If you are planning on running for the school board or any other county office and would like to announce your candidacy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.