Name, age and address: Tommy Callaway, 61, 103 Kildare Court.
Occupation:Work part time at Med Business, Inc.
Education: Business administration degree from LaGrange College.
Family: Married to Sherry Parker Callaway.
My career with Milliken & Co. for 25-plus years as industrial engineering manager, process improvement manager, production superintendent and plant manager at Inflation Systems required me to look at processes and come up with ways to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. I worked very closely with front-line associates to implement cost reduction ideas as well as to improve morale at the plant. We had one of the best employee morale surveys ever in the company. Production employees suggested many cost reduction ideas, and morale improvements were the result of weekly meetings designed to address and eliminate problems that they had on the job.
Why are you running?
I have been attending school board meetings for several years. The board appears to be only a “figure head” board, agreeing always to anything presented to them, asking few, if any, questions. To see first-hand what our students and teachers have to deal with daily, I signed up to be a substitute teacher. That was a real eye-opener for me. I have seen first-hand some of the challenges facing our teachers and students. I am running because I will ask the tough questions and work for the people as their representative as opposed to being a “rubber stamp” for all administrative requests. I also will work to make the board meetings more open and give the public an opportunity to speak without having to fill out a form a week before and explaining what you want to discuss. The board members should be working for the public; not the other way around.
What are the biggest issues in the schools right now?
The biggest issues that I see in our schools today are ineffective board policies that fail to address A) Our students’ safety, B) the lack of discipline in the classroom, C)Low teacher and lunchroom and custodial staff morale, and D) Mediocre academic performance.
What can you do to address the issues?
To address the issues listed, I will insist that we take proactive measures to insure that our students and school employees have a safe environment while at school by implementing numerous random searches for weapons and drugs by using trained dogs. Bullying will be dealt with quickly and effectively.
The lack of discipline in the classroom hinders our students who want to learn and prevents our teachers from teaching at their full potential. This has a negative affect on our academic performance as well. If a student does not want to be quiet and behave in the classroom, we will not tolerate their behavior. The troublesome student will be sent to alternative school if necessary.
When teacher morale is low, they are unable to teach at their full potential. Improving discipline in the classroom will have a positive effect on teacher morale. I will meet with teachers and others to allow them to speak candidly about problems without the fear of retribution that exists today. I will attack the problems one at a time to eliminate them.
Troup County schools rank among the bottom 20 percent in the nation. Principals will be held accountable for improving test scores.
I will be a proponent for a referendum to reduce the school tax burden on our senior citizens. Also, I will accept no pay for being a school board member.
This election is one of, if not the most important at the local level this year. It is not about personalities, friendships or a popularity contest. It is about leadership and accountability. Our children and our teachers deserve more support and leadership than what they have received over the past 12 years.
If elected, I will lead by example and always be honest, open and fair in the decisions I make. I will welcome input from school system employees, parents, grandparents, concerned citizens and those who are interested in being a potential board member. The more people involved and the more ideas, the better our system can be. I want to give the school system back to the people and I appreciate the support of the voters in District 5 on July 31.