Ryan Brannen, farmer and father of five current and former Bulloch County Schools students, says that his life experiences and involvement with the schools would make him a good representative of District 1 on the Board of Education.
Incumbent board member Cheri Wagner is not seeking re-election, and District 1 voters will choose between Brannen and Glenn Womack in the June 9 election, for which early voting is underway.
“First of all let me say it is a privilege to live here in this county and be a citizen in this district,” Brannen said. “Having lived here all my life, I know many of the great people from all cultures and diversities which make up our district. I also chose to trust the public school system with the education of all my children. They have done a great job with carrying them through that season in their life.”
He included this with an emailed response on the last of three thought questions the Statesboro Herald posed to BOE candidates in telephone interviews, after first gathering some biographical background.
Brannen, 43, is a 1995 graduate of Portal High School and attended Georgia Southern University for one year. But he was already farming while in high school and soon started farming full-time. A fourth-generation farmer, Brannen is active in the Portal FFA Alumni Association and works with the school to present an annual agriculture scholarship in memory of his father, Rebon Brannen.
Three of the candidate’s children have graduated from the school system. Of the two youngest, one will be a 12th-grader and the other a seventh-grader, both at Portal Middle High School, in the new school year.
Brannen is a member of the PMHS Booster Club, and he and his wife, Jamie Creasy Brannen, previously served several years on an advisory council at Portal Elementary School. Also a Bulloch native, she is a graduate of Southeast Bulloch High School.
They are members of Statesboro First Baptist Church, where he serves on the church safety team, she teaches Vacation Bible School and both participate in an adult Sunday School class.
Statesboro Herald: Why are you seeking this school board seat and why should voters in District 1 choose you?
Brannen: “I feel like I would be a good representation of the district as a whole. I’ve lived here all my life, I’ve been involved in public school, my kids are involved in public school. I think we’ve been under-represented in this district for several years now, and I really want to try to make a change and represent the people of the district.”
He added that he prayed about his decision to run and is committed to making service on the board a priority, dedicating time to it and offering “foremost to be loyal and transparent” to constituents.
Statesboro Herald: What do you think the school system's priorities should be going into 2021?
Brannen: “Number one would be school safety.” (He had mentioned COVID-19). “I think that we have a lot of good people in place that keep our schools clean and I don’t think that there would be real big issue with that, but we definitely need to address any extra steps that we would need to make sure that this doesn’t become an issue when we do get a chance to go back to school. …
“Second … we’re going to really have to dive into the budget and the funding part of it, because of everybody not working and taxes are short, I’m sure. Hopefully that won’t be the case we have to deal with, maybe if everything turns back around, but I think we’re definitely going to have to look at the taxpayer dollars and where and how they’re spent and … make sure the schools and faculty have everything they need to continue on and give our students the best education possible.”
Statesboro Herald: How will you, as a board member, support the work of the superintendent, staff and teachers and hold them accountable?
Brannen: “Having served with others on other various boards and committees and running a business every day, I feel I have the demeanor and can-do attitude to work side by side with the superintendent and other board members to accomplish the goals set forth. I am one voice of eight, and I will work to make sure that all schools, teachers, staff, and children are getting the best support that is within our power.
“Accountability is very important in government, and the BOE is no different. Working together for a common good is a main priority. And I think transparency is the best form of accountability. I will strive if elected to be as transparent as the board regulation and laws allow me to be.”
A profile of Glenn Womack will appear tomorrow evening and both profiles in Thursday’s print edition.