Joe Glisson, a former employee of the school system and father of two current Bulloch County Schools students and one who has graduated, is seeking the District 7 Board of Education seat.
He says he offers common sense and a willingness to speak his mind. He cites school safety and finances and the stability of administrators and teachers in their assigned jobs as priorities.
District 7 voters are choosing among Glisson, Lisa Deloach and incumbent board member Heather Mims. With three candidates, this contest could go to a runoff between the two who receive the most votes in Tuesday’s nonpartisan general election.
“I have a willingness for new ideas,” Glisson said in a phone interview. “I think we’ve just got to see how everything can work together for all of the schools, but I have a pretty good mind to think with, or a bunch of ideas that go through it anyhow. I’m not afraid to think outside the box for solutions.”
Born in Bulloch County, he grew up in the Denmark community and graduated in 1992 from Southeast Bulloch High School.
He started in his current job, as the golf course superintendent at Forest Heights Country Club, a little over three months ago. But before that, he was a grounds maintenance foreman for Bulloch County Schools for five years. Before that, he had worked at Willow Lake Golf Club in Metter, and before that, was previously at Forest Heights as assistant superintendent.
His wife, Kristen Newton Glisson, is district manager for AmeriGas.
Their older daughter graduated from Southeast Bulloch High School and is in her second year at the University of Georgia. Their younger daughter will be a senior at SEB High this year, and their son will be in sixth grade at SEB Middle School.
As a volunteer, Glisson has coached softball for his daughters’ teams and soccer for his son’s team in Statesboro-Bulloch Parks and Recreation programs.
Statesboro Herald: Why are you seeking this school board seat and why should voters in District 7 choose you?
Glisson: “Well, I think I’ll bring some all-around common sense. Not that I’ve seen everything at the school, but I’ve seen the way some of it is run and done, and I just figure I could be a mediator, in the middle, because I’ve worked at the board and I know the maintenance side of a lot of it, and so I could be there to help people understand what’s going on. …
“I know the school system and things have changed over the years, but I think we’ve really got to start raising kids for the future. … There’s a lot of kids that don’t get no raising at home, and if things don’t change some we’re in for kind of a rude awakening as we all get older. We’ve just got to have a better community at the end of the day.”
Statesboro Herald: What do you think the school system's priorities should be going into 2021?
Glisson: “Definitely the safety standpoint, which they’ve already started on that with the resource officers and all in the schools, and I think that’s a good move. But I think they need to continue working with the county itself and the Sheriff’s Department part of the county also. I think they all need a little bit more communication.”
Next, he listed “the money situation,” the school system’s finances after the pandemic downturn.
“I understand that education for the kids is the main concern, but also there’s a lot of people expecting a paycheck … and they need their money just like everybody else does,” he said. “So we need to make sure that we’ll financially be able to support the teachers and staff.”
He added that he’s “not a big fan of moving teachers and principals around,” referring to the school superintendent’s past transfers of administrators between schools and plan to reassign some teachers to fill vacancies during the current hiring freeze.
“I know that sometimes you have to do that, and you have to get people in the right positions…., Glisson said. “But I know when I was a kid going to school, it’s already nerve-racking, and then you get there and the faces that you used to see have all been changed around.”
Frequent transfers can also prevent principals from getting their plans in place before someone else arrives with a different approach, he said, “and it takes that much longer to get everything back in line.”
Statesboro Herald: How will you, as a board member, support the work of the superintendent, staff and teachers and hold them accountable?
Glisson: “I have a willingness for new ideas. … I’m not afraid to think outside the box for solutions, and I’m definitely not afraid to speak my mind. If somebody asks me a question, I’m going to be honest with them.”