Meet the two candidates vying for Georgia State Superintendent

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) – Election season is almost here, and we’re giving you a preview of the candidates you’ll see on the ballot.

Two candidates are running for superintendent of Georgia Public Schools. Both have decades of experience in the field of education and plan to address issues of teacher burnout and school safety.

Alisha Thomas Searcy and incumbent Richard Woods are no strangers to the classroom. Drawing on their experience, the two share why they believe educators should be paid fairly and how they will ensure students and staff are safe on campus.

Managing 1.8 million children attending schools across the state of Georgia has been the responsibility of Richard Woods for the past eight years.

“The record is clear. I’m really the only candidate who’s been a class teacher, been an administrator. So, you know, I have about 30 years’ experience right now teaching preschool through 12th grade,” Woods said.

During his tenure so far, the former social studies teacher has focused on teacher burnout and reducing the number of local tests while ensuring safety on school grounds.

“For all of us, we want to make sure that anyone who enters our grounds at our schools is protected and feels safe, because you need to have a safe environment for our children to learn,” Woods said.

Woods explicitly wants to increase school resource officers and ensure schools have adequate mental health resources.

When Woods became superintendent of the Georgia school, Alisha Thomas Searcy was finishing her stint in the state House of Representatives. Searcy became the first African American elected from Cobb County to serve in the House, where she remained for six years.

“When I left the legislature in 2014, I went back to school, completed a master’s degree in educational leadership, and also participated in two very intense superintendent training programs. And then became superintendent,” Searcy said.

With safety in mind after the shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and two teachers were killed, the former Atlanta-area superintendent hosted a roundtable in Columbus.

“We talked about everything from having school resource officers in every school. We talked about mental health and the importance of making sure students are doing well,” Searcy said.

Searcy says she also plans to raise the starting salary for all teachers to $65,000 a year to reduce burnout in the classroom.

“I need voters to know this is a critical election, that Democrats and Republicans can vote for me as public school superintendent because I want to focus not on red or blue , nor on Democrats or Republicans. I want to focus on your kid,” Searcy said.

For more information on each candidate’s platforms, click on one of the links below:

Richard Wood

Alisa Thomas Searcy

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