Bulloch County Board of Education Chairman Mike Sparks, who has served on the Board since 2011, announced Friday that he will not seek re-election to office and will retire from the Board when his current term ends Dec. 31, 2022.
"I've enjoyed every minute of my 12 years on the Board," Sparks said. "I've served almost 50 years in education, and after much prayer, I believe it is time for me to step aside and allow others to serve. I believe in asking God for direction, and it has been confirmed to me that it's time."
Sparks said that he has much that he wants to accomplish at the Ogeechee River Baptist Association's W.W. Mann Retreat and Conference Center, where he serves as director, and at his church, Trinity Baptist in Nevils. He said he also wants to spend more time with his son who lives in Florida.
Sparks was elected to serve District 2 in November 2010, and was sworn into office on Jan. 13, 2011.
A former educator who retired in 2004 after 30 years with the school district, he filled the seat formerly held by Dr. Scott Bohlke. He was elected by his board peers this month to serve a fifth year-long term as chairman on the Board. He also previously served as vice-chairman for 2012 and 2015.
Affectionately known as “Coach Sparks” by school district employees, many of whom are his former students and co-workers, he was an educator for 25 years at Southeast Bulloch High School and five years at Southeast Bulloch Middle School. Sparks taught social studies, health and physical education and physical sciences. He also served as an athletic director and said he remains an avid supporter of Southeast Bulloch High athletics.
"I believe we have a great school system and Central Office,” Sparks said. “I am very proud of our school district and how we serve this community.”
A release from Hayley Greene, public relations director for Bulloch County Schools, outlined some highlights from Sparks’ 12-year career on the Board.
“There are many educational initiatives that have been implemented by the Board in large part to his leadership and advocacy,” the release said. “A few of those include international re-accreditation as a school district, formation of a community facilities committee to guide identification of projects for a fourth education special purpose local option sales tax and completion of those projects, formation of a community cultural diversity committee and initiatives inside the district to define diversity and increase the pool of culturally diverse applicants for certified faculty positions and establishment of the REACH Georgia Scholarship program that has made college possible for 45 students since 2013.”
“I cannot adequately express the appreciation I have for Coach Sparks and all that he has done for the boys and girls of this school system,” said Charles Wilson, superintendent of Schools. “He has a true heart for the community’s children, and we will miss him. But I know he will remain involved.”
Sparks’ District 2 seat is one of four on the eight-member Board of Education that is up for election in 2022.
According to Shontay Jones, election supervisor for the Bulloch County Elections and Voter Registration Department, qualifying for non-partisan seats on the Board of Education will begin March 7 at 9 a.m. and end at noon on March 11.
The election dates for 2022 are May 24, for the general primary, nonpartisan general election and special election, and June 21, for the general primary, nonpartisan general election and special election runoff.