Keisha Howard, a real estate agent and paralegal with school accounting and technical college teaching experience and multiple academic degrees, is seeking the District 8 seat on the Bulloch County Board of Education.
She wants the board to address crowding in school buildings, provide raises for teachers, principals and other school employees and improve student discipline, especially to eliminate bullying.
Howard is challenging incumbent board member Maurice Hill. District 8 voters decide in the election that concludes Tuesday.
“I feel that, in education, our community needs a new vision on achieving higher academic goals and that our faculty and staff need a fair voice that represents and conveys their concerns as well,” Howard said.
Born in Statesboro, she attended Bulloch County Schools from kindergarten until her graduation from Statesboro High School. She then attended Georgia Southern University and first attained a bachelor’s degree in political science. Howard also completed an American Bar Association-accredited paralegal program in Atlanta and has been a paralegal for 17 years.
She returned to Georgia Southern for a second bachelor’s degree, in accounting, and has since attained a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. Except for her dissertation, she has completed her courses toward a doctorate from there as well.
Howard taught at Ogeechee Technical College in the Business Administrative Technology program for more than four years, concluding in 2019. She also once briefly worked for the Bulloch County Schools, handling accounting and payroll at Mill Creek Elementary School.
Licensed as a real estate agent, Howard currently works as a field agent for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kennedy Realty.
She has also become a student again, at Ogeechee Tech, where she will receive an associate degree in funeral services education this fall, she said.
As a paralegal, Howard has worked in both the private sector, including with some local lawyers, and in the public sector, for the city of Augusta.
She is a paralegal member of the American Bar Association. A member of the Georgia Paralegal Association, she has served the last four years on its regulation committee. She is also a member of the National Association of Legal Assistants, the Association of Bankruptcy Judicial Assistants, the American Association of University Professors, the Statesboro Board of Realtors and the Georgia and national Realtors associations.
Howard is not married and has no children in the schools. But she has two goddaughters she spends a lot of time with who seem almost like her children and are Bulloch schools students, she said.
Statesboro Herald: Why are you seeking this school board seat and why should voters in District 8 choose you?
Howard: “As an educator I’ve interacted with students on a postsecondary level, and also, I worked at Mill Creek, so I did have interaction with elementary school students. I feel that, in education, our community needs a new vision. …”
After the comment at the beginning of this profile, she described herself as “a community activist.” She added that her public-sector work has given her knowledge of local government departments such as human resources, planning and development, recreation, risk management and central services, all things that the school board makes decisions about.
Statesboro Herald: What do you think the school system's priorities should be going into 2021?
Howard: “I believe that good schools are good business. … Therefore, our priorities include keeping our schools safe and making sure our tax dollars are being used to improve the quality of our school system.
“I know that we have two schools that have overcrowding issues right now, and if we are able to start back that they’re going to have to put mobile units at these schools. So I believe that we need classroom expansion.”
She said she also favors “salary increases for our teachers, principals, parapros and other school support staff.”
“I believe that my mix of skills and background brings high energy, efficiency and a chance to transform our education community that would be a positive reflection in line with President Obama’s Every Student Succeeds Act. …”
“I think discipline needs to be another top priority,” she added. “As a paralegal, I’ve seen our children appear in juvenile court, and that bothers me. The Ogeechee Judicial Circuit has numerous juvenile cases and some stem from incidents at school.”
Howard was bullied as a child in elementary and middle school and feels that parents are concerned about their children being bullied, she continued.
“I think we need to be a district where we have zero tolerance, and those students who want to be bullies and pick on our children need to be disciplined and punished.”
Statesboro Herald: How will you, as a board member, support the work of the superintendent, staff and teachers and hold them accountable?
Howard: “I believe we all are adults and accountability comes with your job … As a board member, I want to listen to what issues teachers are having. …”
She added that has a flexible schedule and would be able to sit down with principals or teachers to hear their needs and wants them to feel free to talk to her “and that they have a free voice and a fair voice.”
A profile of Maurice Hill will appear online tomorrow night and both District 8 profiles in the Thursday print edition. Profiles of the District 7 BOE candidates will be published in the weekend edition.