As a candidate for Bulloch County Board of Education in District 4, Adrianne McCollar has made “Our children. Our community. Our future.” her campaign slogan.
A university administrator and a mother with children in the Bulloch County Schools, she hails from a family well known for involvement in community affairs, but this is her first time running for office.
“Our children’s future, the future of our community and our world is depending on what we do today to educate, challenge, and inspire our children,” McCollar said. “Quality education grows resilient children, provides support for working families and stability for employers. I have something to offer our children and families as the next school board member.”
District 4 voters will choose between McCollar and April Newkirk on the May 22 nonpartisan ballot.
Now 36, McCollar grew up in Norcross but has been a Bulloch County resident for almost 20 years. She came to Georgia Southern University as a student. After getting her bachelor’s degree with a major in political science and a minor in French, she returned to GSU classrooms and attained a master’s degree in public administration.
While a student she also met her husband, Jonathan McCollar, a native of Bulloch County. He took office in January as Statesboro’s mayor after winning election last November over the previous mayor and another challenger.
All five of the McCollars’ children are enrolled in Georgia public schools. Three are in the Bulloch County system.
As Georgia Southern’s facilities manager, Adrianne McCollar manages one of the largest departments on the Statesboro campus.
Both candidates in school board District 4 talk about public education as a powerful force for good.
“I am running because K-12 education – quality, free public education, is a truly amazing institution that is worth protecting and perfecting,” McCollar said. “I want to amplify the voices of our children. Children know what works for them and they know what is not working, and I believe that we should be listening to them.”
That and most of her other comments here were replies to questions she was emailed before qualifying week, and some but not all appeared in an earlier story.
“We have to support our teachers,” McCollar wrote. “My daughter has four teachers this year who have really poured into her life and I am running for them.”
Those four Mattie Lively Elementary School fifth-grade teachers, identified by name in the earlier story, have shown McCollar “how transformative the classroom can be when teachers are inspired and creative in the classroom and when they really work to reach their students,” she said.
Room to improve
Areas where McCollar sees the Bulloch County Schools having room for improvement include “preparing students for a lifetime of success,” “supporting educators” and “securing our schools,” she said this week.
McCollar spoke as a parent during a March 13 forum on school safety at Southeast Bulloch High School. The event was meant for families with children in area elementary and middle schools as well, and she asked for more communication with parents, especially at the middle school level.
“I get it, we’re supposed to back off and let them grow up some,” she said. “But I say that to say that there’s got to be more of a partnership created with parents by informing them, and I think that we have to not be afraid to have these conversations with our children at home and at school.”
Newkirk attended the same forum, as did a few of the current Board of Education members.
Community & schools
McCollar has served on the Bulloch County Parent Advisory Committee and on parent advisory committees for Langston Chapel Elementary School and is a community partner with Transitions Learning Center. She works with the Collegiate 100 Women of Georgia Southern, who have been mentoring children in the Morris Heights community for the past four years. She worked with a GSU student organization, The Real Always Wins, or RAW, which mentored students in a recovery class at Statesboro High.
Toward preparing students for success, McCollar wants the schools, with community help, to do more to bridge achievement gaps among social and economic groups.
“I would like to see our schools turned into true community learning centers, and I believe that the resources are there to do it,” she emailed.
“Our children need access to computers, internet and tutoring after 3:30 p.m.,” McCollar wrote. “The work that needs to be done to bridge these gaps cannot all be put on teachers to do between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. We need bold and transformative ideas and school board members willing to implement new and creative ways to bridge these gaps.”
The District 4 incumbent board member, Steve Hein, is not seeking re-election. Advanced voting begins April 30.
Introductory stories about the candidates in BOE District 5 will appear next week.