James King hopes to win seat on White County School Board


James King

WHITE COUNTY, Ga. – Republican James King, who comes from a family that has been involved in education and public service for generations, is running for the White County Board of Education in District 4.

“My family has a long history of service in White County,” King said in announcing his campaign. “I’m proud to be related to people like Roy Satterfield who served as probate judge for more than 20 years. My grandmother taught school for 25 years and my mother has been teaching for 30 so I understand the challenges of our teachers and the needs of our schools,” he said.

King is a certified teacher himself who also understands how to interpret state standards and the everyday challenges associated with classroom management and how they are constantly evolving.

A graduate of Truett McConnell University, King has a passion for teaching young people and he plans to earn a Master’s Degree in Education. He has been involved in many community service projects, including the White County Historical Society.

King was a substitute teacher in the White County school system until he discovered the existence of a clandestine group of educators led by Superintendent Dr. Laura Burkett operating covertly within the school system about two years ago. Once he exposed the group known as “Warriors for Social Justice” to public scrutiny, he found his services were no longer needed.

He spent the next year informing the public about a school system that he says is teaching critical race theory (CRT), a racist, anti-American academic theory that claims America is systemically racist and must be dismantled.

He has conducted extensive research and published his findings on line. But his effort to keep the public informed has had a personal cost. School Board member John Solomon once threatened King verbally and physically and a lawyer threatened to destroy him financially if he did not stop his effort.

“Over the last year, it’s been apparent the Board has not been completely honest with the public on a number of issues,” he said. “Not just the small group of teachers that try to push CRT into the schools, but things like the artificial turf. The Board came back many, many times with different evaluations of what that would cost.”

King said he is tired of watching people come before the Board to express concerns only to be ignored by the Board. “I want to be a voice for the people. First and foremost, they need a Board member who will sit down with them. They need to have a voice. They have a right to voice their concerns. They pay taxes and have a vested interest in our schools.”

King said he will also tackle the issue of books and material in public school libraries that contain obscene and pornographic data. “Those books have no place in school libraries,” he said. There are two bills being debated in the Georgia General Assembly that address CRT and obscenity in public school libraries.

“I have a good working relationship with our state delegation,” King said. “I’d like to think I had a helping hand in getting those bills passed along to protect our state from what is an intentionally divisive, un-American concept.”


School Board member John Solomon threatened anti-CRT activist

Business, News

John Solomon

WHITE COUNTY, Ga. — James King, an anti-critical race theory activist, said Monday he was verbally assaulted and threatened by District 2 School Board member John Solomon on Sept. 30, during the September Board meeting.

King, says he has evidence to show that White County schools and a covert organization known as Warriors for Social Justice are teaching CRT and other social justice initiatives to students.

“John Solomon got literally inches from my face and started screaming at me and told me in multiple different ways to stop what I was doing to expose Warriors for Social Justice. He told me to stop the crusade and he accused me of slandering good educators. Then he told me there would be undefined consequences.”

James King

King said dozens of people witnessed the incident and someone eventually stepped in front of Solomon because “he was acting like he was about to punch me. He kept clinching his fists. He assured me there would be consequences if I didn’t stop.”

King said the incident took place after the meeting in the Board of Commissioners meeting room was recessed and before the meeting continued in the school gym due to the size of the crowd.

Debbie Palmer said she witnessed the outburst and heard Solomon threaten that there would be consequences if King didn’t stop. “Mr. Solomon approached James and told him he needed to keep his mouth shut. That he didn’t know what he was talking about. He was screaming at him and there was no need for that.”

Kim Fletter

Kim Fletter called the incident volatile. “John was livid,” she said. “The veins in his neck were popping out. He pointed his finger in James face and told him, ‘don’t you dare mention any names tonight’ and he repeated it several times. It could have escalated very easily. I thought he was going to sock James.”

Last summer, King a former substitute teacher, shared documents with the Board that he collected from the Warriors for Social Justice Google Classroom in which the group claims to be “dedicated to a covert program within the schools.”

Members of the Warriors for Social Justice include Superintendent Dr. Laurie Burkett, Director of Student Improvement Cindy Free, Director of Student Services Mary Kay Berry, Tesnatee Gap Elementary Principal Octavius Mulligan, White County Middle School Principal Nara Allen, Jennifer Cesarone, Ellen Gann, Tera Johnston, Patty Kidd, Valerie Mateen, Kelly Williams, Kristen Dennis, Wayne Wilkes, Sarah Spillers, Francesca Smith, Gretchin Anglin, Lindsey Oliver and Erica Owens.

Fetch Your News attempted to reach Mr. Solomon and Chairwoman Jarrard for their comments, but they did not return our calls.



White County Schools names Justus assistant superintendent


CLEVELAND, Ga. – A new assistant superintendent will report to the White County Board of Education soon from nearby Oakwood.

West Hall High School Principal Scott Justus will replace Laurie Burkett in his new position. After many years as White County’s assistant superintendent, Burkett was named superintendent by the Board of Education last month.

In addition to his role as principal at West Hall, Justus is also chairman of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. His experience includes serving as health and physical education teacher at North Hall High School. He was named head baseball coach at Chestatee High School in 2002 and served as a department chair.

He became assistant principal at West Hall in 2006 and was promoted to principal seven years later.

Justus will be replaced at West Hall by Ley Hathcock who has served the district as principal at Martin Technology Academy Principal.


Wilson leaving to lead Floyd County schools


CLEVELAND, Ga. – White County School System will hold a called meeting Thursday at 7 a.m. to announce it has begun the search for a new School Superintendent.

Dr. Jeff Wilson, who has been the system’s top administrator the last seven years, is leaving to become superintendent of Floyd County schools. Wilson said today that he won’t know when his final day in White County will be until tomorrow’s meeting. He is expected to assume his new duties on July 1.

“I really love the teachers, administrators and students in White County,” he said. “They are doing some amazing things here and I am going to miss them.”

But Wilson, who was in Floyd County Tuesday to introduce himself to teachers, principals and administrators, said he is also excited about the challenge of working in the Floyd County School System.

Floyd County School Board Vice Chairman Tony Daniel told the Rome News Tribune after speaking to the 30-plus candidates of varied experience who applied.  “We definitely had the system in our hearts.”

Wilson said he was drawn to Floyd County through its reputation for having a dedicated and student-focused staff.

“It’s a good system with potential to be great,” he said.



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Supt. Wilson Says: No Change in Valedictorian Policy Requirements


CLEVELAND, Ga. – White County School Superintendent Dr. Jeff Wilson was unequivocal Thursday morning in stating there will be no change in the policy that governs the awarding of Valedictorian and Salutatorian honors at White County High School.

Controversy over the issue erupted recently when Christie Taylor, a Move On When Ready student, who had never attended the school, requested the change in order to become eligible for the award.

Wilson said, “I can’t speak for the Board about whether they may consider a completely different type of honor for Move On When Ready students, but it will not be the Valedictorian or Salutatorian award. “That will happen over my dead body. I’d be angry too if my child had met all the requirements for Valedictorian or Salutatorian and didn’t receive it. I’d be hot as fire.”

Asked about the possibility of awarding co-Valedictorian or co-Salutatorian was a possibility, Wilson said absolutely not. “I can promise you we’re not going to do anything that would diminish the honor for those who have qualified to receive it.”

Blake Underwood, a Valedictorian candidate, and Liam Gedney, candidate for Salutatorian, spoke in opposition to the policy change at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.

“I’ve worked from the moment I entered White County High School to be Valedictorian, said Underwood. “ I’ve given back to the school.”


Pulliam to Run for White County School Board


CLEVELAND, Ga. –Brock Pulliam has qualified to run for the District 2 seat on the White County Board of Education.

Pulliam, 46, is a 1988 graduate of North Hall High School and a salesman working for Gainesville Flooring. He was appointed as the interim Board of Education member in May to replace Roger Fiztpatrick who resigned to run for U.S. Congress against incumbent Congressman Doug Collins.

Pulliam’s wife Shanna teaches visually impaired students in the White County School System. The couple has three children in the system, one a senior, a ninth grader and the youngest is in kindergarten.

Pulliam said, ” I have a vested interest in education with three children in the school system. In addition to my wife being a teacher, my several family members are involved in education. My brother and sister-in-law teach.”

The school board is currently working on the new budget and Pulliam says it will be adopted next Thursday.

But now he’s seen first hand how difficult the budgeting process can be. “It’s hard since the value of the mil has declined. The recent senior exemptions have had a negative impact on revenue but the numbers look pretty good right now. My number one goal will be to be fiscally responsible and make sure we manage the taxpayer dollars in the most efficient way possible.”

Missy Jarrard, Candidate School Board Chair

News, Politics

CLEVELAND, Ga. — Missy Jarrard is a veteran educator with 23 years experience, including nine years as an elementary and middle school teacher and 14 years as a school counselor. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Education from the University of North Georgia and a Masters in School Counseling from the University of Georgia. She believes the time has come to put her knowledge and experience to work for the citizens of White County which is why she has decided to run for chairman of the White County School Board.

At a recent candidate forum, Jarrard said, “Never have I seen teacher morale so low. We’re at a time when our teachers are in fear of speaking out and giving their opinion. Teachers and parents feel like when they have a concern that no one is truly listening to them. I believe our school system is in need of a voice for transparency and unity.”

Jarrard acknowledged that the school system has won some incredible awards but added that, “When you walk into the school building and talk to the teachers and students and listen to them, you know there are more stories to be told.”

One area where she disagrees with School Board Chair Kendyl Brock-Hunter is on whether or not school board members should spend more time in the schools.

Hunter says school board members are not there to micromanage. “We are there to listen to the administrators, listen to the parents, listen to the students listen to our community and to govern.”

Jarrard said, “I do believe there needs to be a presence by the school board in the school building. Not to micromanage but in order for you to get a full picture of what is going on in each school. To do that, you’ve got to be present.Those teachers need to see you walk down that hall, even if it’s just to have lunch. They need to see you and you need to be approachable and you need to have easy access.”

Both candidates agree there is too much student testing. Jarrard said, “I know a lot of those are state and federally mandated but there are some local decisions being made that add to the testing. We need to make sure we’re using that data in the correct manner. If the test is not a good tool to use to measure child’s ability we don’t need it. Our children are being over tested and it’s developmentally inappropriate.”

Kendyl Brock-Hunter, School Board Chair

News, Politics

CLEVELAND, Ga. — Kendyl Brock-Hunter has been at the helm of an award-winning school system the past 12 years and would like to serve for four more, which is why she is running for a fourth term as White County School Board Chair.

She is a healthcare professional, a successful business owner who has worked in school systems as an occupational therapist, and she once served in a governor-appointed position as a member of the licensing board for occupational therapists.

“We’ve done some great things,” she said. For example when the state of Georgia College and Career Readiness Performance Index Scores (CCRPI) were released last week. White County schools were ranked #1 in the region in elementary schools performance, #1 in high school performance and the school system ranked #11 overall in the state. In addition, Mossy Creek Elementary School was named a “2016 National Beta School of Merit.”.
Hunter points out that communication between schools and parents has improved.

“We’ve implemented things that weren’t in place 12 years ago, things like email and the phone tree. We send out texts now. You know what’s going on with your kids. You can track your kid. I love the fact that middle schools post what they’re dong this week on the phone tree. Can we improve? Certainly. But that starts with parents saying I’m not getting the information I need. We can’t fix it if we don’t know it’s broken.”

Hunter said the transition from Mom to school board member is very difficult.

“You’re no longer the day to day,” she said. “It’s not that you don’t appreciate the day to day or understand it, but you’re there to govern and to lead. “We are there to listen to the administrators, listen to the parents, listen to the students, listen to our community and to govern.”

On whether there is too much testing, she said, “Of course there is. We all know there is too much testing.” But much of the testing, she pointed out, is mandated by the state and federal government.

“One of the great things about being a charter system is something we’re moving forward with right now which is to do away with the day to day milestones. We’re looking at using some measures we already have in place that are nationally normed to gauge our kids. That will take away some of the unnecessary testing.”

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