Saturday, May 30, 2009
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CONYERS - Brad Smith is the first resident to announce his candidacy for the Rockdale County Board of Education.He announced Wednesday that he will seek election to the board's Post 2, currently held by Travis Collins, in November's election.Smith said being on the Board of Education will allow him to be more involved in the school system."I want to get involved in the education of our kids. I figured this would be a good way to help out ... instead of being on the outside looking in," said Smith, whose daughter Jennifer is a freshman at Heritage High School. "When I was in the Air Force, I was involved in all sorts of committees, and it gets into you, so I want to continue doing that."Smith said he chose Collins' post after Collins said he would not seek re-election.Collins, who has served on the Rockdale BOE for 12 years, said Jan. 10 that he would not seek re-election in November."I'd like to see some new blood in there," Collins said earlier this month. "I'll miss parts of it, but after 12 years, it's time for me to move aside."Smith said he feels he could bring in some "new ideas" to the board, although he has "no problems" with the job the board is doing currently."My parents moved to Rockdale when I was in high school, and they chose Rockdale for the schools," Smith said. "From what I can tell, the quality of education is still good. It's always been good. That's the reason I got my daughter back into Rockdale schools when she came to live with me."He said his main focus is to keep the quality of education high in Rockdale."I'm more into standards and discipline, especially standards across the board," he said. "I feel that if it happens at Salem (High School), it needs to happen at Rockdale (County High School), and the same for all elementary and middle schools."Smith is a 1984 graduate of Heritage High School and now works as a fireman for the city of Covington and part time at Elf Engraving Inc. in Conyers.From 1984 to 2004, he served in the U.S. Air Force in the initial combat operations in Iraq in 2003, Afghanistan in 2002, Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and other deployments in support of Operation Southern Watch.Smith is a graduate of the Leadership Rockdale Class of 2007, secretary of the Heritage High School Council for the 2007-08 school year and an active member in the Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce.He was secretary of Pope Elementary School Parent Teacher Association during the 2002-03 school year and was elected for two three-year terms to Spout Springs Emergency Services Inc. Board of Directors from 1998 to 2004.So far, no other residents have announced their intentions to seek a position on the Rockdale BOE.Also on Jan. 10, Post 5 Board member Tolbert Morris said he would not seek re-election, while Post 1 member Jean Yontz and Post 3 member Wales Barksdale said they intend to seek re-election. Post 4 member Darlene Hotchkiss said Jan. 10 she had not yet decided if she would seek reelection.Anyone interested in running for election to the nonpartisan Board of Education can qualify at the Rockdale Board of Elections office at 1400 Parker Road in Conyers. The qualifying period for BOE members begins at 9 a.m. June 23 and lasts until noon June 27. The qualifying fee is $75.Unregistered voters who would like to vote in the Nov. 4 general election have until Oct. 6 to register.Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@ newtoncitizen.com.