Jeri Michie, a longtime resident of Walton County, is running for the position of Walton County School Board. Jeri has been in the field of education for over thirty-four years, first operating as a classroom teacher and eventually moving on to principal.
Jeri has always felt like her purpose in life is to teach and serve. From the time she was a child the value of taking care of others was instilled in her – being a good citizen and using her talents to help others in the community. Jeri has primarily accomplished this through the field of education, wearing many hats throughout her career. Today, Jeri spends most of her time volunteering in her community as a coach for high school and elementary tennis and soccer teams.
When asked what drives her to want to be the representative for Walton County’s School Board Jeri said, “I think of three things. First, I have a lot of experience. I believe that experience is such a great teacher, and I learned at a young age that this is what I wanted to do. Second, it’s my nature and gift to want to bring people together to solve problems. If you have a problem, all you need is a plan. Third, I’m highly motivated. I’m driven by my faith, and my faith motivates me to serve, as well as my family. I just love our community.” Jeri believes that there are four areas our focus needs to be on concerning the county’s education.
Firstly, she believes the community must plan for growth. Walton County is among the top five fastest-growing counties in the United States, and this puts a strain on the schools and their staff. As a member of the Walton County School Board, Jeri plans to prioritize investment in the facilities and personnel in order to support the growth in the student population. As Walton County continues to grow, the need for practical and modern schools and educated staff grow as well.
Second, Jeri believes in the importance of rewarding teachers. Jeri’s experience as a teacher herself has taught her the importance of a classroom teacher in the lives of students. Teachers are sometimes the only line of support a child has. Jeri also believes that competitive salaries are necessary in order to recruit and retain talented teachers. A person who feels underappreciated never gives their best.
Thirdly, Jeri believes that the primary focus should be on the students. Events such as COVID-19 have made it apparent that students need support in their mental and emotional health. Guidance counselors have assisted but often find themselves busy with other duties in addition to counseling. Jeri believes that the way to solve this problem is to reduce the ratio of students to counselors and to decrease the dependence on school counselors for administrative work. Jeri will work hard to make sure that counselors have enough time to support students in all areas of their life, from basic emotional and mental health to college and career planning.
Finally, Jeri is advocating for increased pre-vocational opportunities. She believes that these courses should be expanded to middle and high school students, as technical schools often help students gain valuable skills to transfer to their future careers.
Jeri Michie’s greatest passion is simple – to live her life serving other people. She feels like the best way she can do this is to be given the opportunity to represent Walton County on the School Board. Voting will take place on August 18th, 2020. We are always learning new things, and every community could stand to grow. As Jeri said, “Working together, we can do great things.”
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