Both Steve Hein and Priscilla Clifton have experience in education. Both are well-known in their communities, and both hope voters show up at the polls Tuesday to elect them to the Bulloch County Board of Education District 4 seat, vacated by current BOE member Kenny Stone this December.
Clifton, originally from Metter, has lived in Bulloch County for about 40 years. Of 38 years spent in education 36 were in Bulloch County, 24 of those teaching math and science. She also has served as assistant principal and principal of Bulloch County Schools.
Hein is from Statesboro, having graduated from Statesboro High School to pursue a finance degree from what is now Georgia Southern University. Eighteen years ago the wildlife artist was key in helping form the Lamar Q. Ball Raptor Center and Georgia Southern University Center for Wildlife, where he has worked with students from kindergarten to college age.
Clifton decided to run "because I felt like we needed someone who is an educator on the board," she said. "And, someone with insight to public education."
Hein said a group of friends urged him to run for the office because they felt he had the "character, judgment and integrity to fill this very important role."
The father of four, with two children still in the Bulloch County School system, said by working in public education for 18 years at the GSU Wildlife Center, he dealt with 33 different school systems from the region. "We saw the products of school systems that did not measure up," he said. "We in Bulloch County have a great deal to be proud of."
If elected, Clifton hopes to be a "voice for students and teachers, as well as the community in general," she said. "I want to let folks know I will listen to their needs."
She feels the current school system is doing a good job in providing for student needs, and feels Bulloch County School Superintendent Dr. Lewis Holloway is "pretty visible" to the public. Hein said he feels the BOE is a "policy board" and that members should oversee the policies and procedures that affect administration, teachers and students. "To that end, we have excellent representatives on the current school board."
He said he did not think it would be appropriate to comment on any perceived issues with the BOE until he, if elected, becomes involved and more knowledgeable about the board and its responsibilities.
However, he said he is fully ready to commit to the job if elected.
Education is a "three-legged stool," he said: parents, teachers and administration. Parents are an important link, and Hein said he feels "we need greater involvement from parents. It takes all three to work together."
Clifton also feels parental involvement is important and hopes to be a voice for students, parents or teachers who may have issues that need solving.
While Clifton is retired from the Bulloch County School system, she is currently part time adjunct professor at Ogeechee Technical College.
Hein remains at the wildlife center, and has served at Mattie Lively PTO president and on the William James School council.
Both he and Clifton urge voters to make the trip to the poll.
"Don't forget to come to the polls to vote," Clifton said. "I am a voice for you as well as your children."
"If voters want me to do this, I am up to the task," Hein said. "This is a crossroads for me and I will be fully committed."
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at 912-489-9414.