Glennera Martin, facing a challenge for a second term on the Bulloch County Board of Education in District 5, says she wants to continue work toward goals in the school system’s strategic plan.
Martin, 74, who had retired from a 44-year career as an educator before she was elected to the board in 2014, also touts her personal outreach to the community as a board member and volunteer.
“I want to work hard and work smart with fellow board members to enable every child and every school to improve and show progress while monitoring safety in the school system to ensure protection of every child,” Martin said on the phone two weeks ago.
Her challenger in the May 22 nonpartisan school board election is Dr. Mary Felton, the former Bulloch County Schools assistant superintendent now employed as an assistant principal at Claxton Elementary School in Evans County. An introductory story about Felton will appear later this week.
“I want to continue to serve as District 5 board member to work with the superintendent and board members to promote the mission, vision and goals included in the strategic plan,” Martin emailed last week.
Martin stated that she wants to work with other board members over the next four years to focus on “allowing every child to succeed, while pursuing college and career goals of choice,” “involving parents, stakeholders and partners in the school system,” “modifying school policies and academic course offerings as needed” and increasing “student use and awareness of new technology” and participation in the college dual-enrollment program for high school students.
“Monitoring and strengthening school test performance and student behavior,” “increasing personnel diversity,” and “monitoring the safety of students and employees,” were other goals she listed.
In the earlier phone interview, Martin said diversity in hiring is one area where she believes she has made a difference.
“You can’t do anything by yourself, but allowing the system to take a closer look at diversity, I think I’ve accomplished that, and I think the hiring of additional persons of various minorities, increasing that number, and also monitoring of teachers in the various school sites and helping with different programs and organizations,” she said.
Martin served on the Board of Education’s Minority Recruitment Committee, active in 2016-17. A set of recommendations that Superintendent Charles Wilson gleaned from its work was never adopted by the board. But an assistant human resources director was hired to increase overall recruiting and led in planning the school system’s recent career fair for potential employees, a first. Administrators also presented ideas last month for a new diversity initiative.
During her current term, Martin voted for raises for teachers and paraprofessionals, she noted. She also served on the committee identifying Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax priorities.
Born in Bulloch County, Martin got her first, brief teaching job at Mary Jackson Elementary School, which was in Nevils. She then taught five years in Chatham County before returning to Statesboro, where she served as a First District Regional Educational Service Agency consultant, also for five years.
But her longest tenure was 34 years with the Burke County Schools in Waynesboro. There she worked in several central office roles, including curriculum director, parent coordinator, Title I director and English for Speakers of Other Languages program coordinator before retiring in 2009.
In 2016, Martin was inducted to the Savannah State University Foundation Hall of Fame in the category of civic service. Martin attained her bachelor’s degree at Savannah State, her master’s degree from the University of Georgia, and her Education Specialist in administration and instructional support also from UGA, after taking some of the classes at Georgia Southern.
She has no children of her own but followed the educations and careers of three godchildren and has served as a volunteer mentor to several other children over the years.
While a board member, Martin has continued volunteering in community-based programs, including several that promote literacy. She assists with the Bulloch County Reading program founded by Lawanda Allen, and also with an annual Community Reading event founded and directed by Camille Denise Palmer. More than 200 children and parents attend Palmer’s event off Johnson Street, Martin said, adding that she wants to do more outreach to parents there.
She also helps coordinate the annual Back to School event put on by the African-American Business Owners Community Foundation, of which Annette Holloway is founder and president, at Luetta Moore Park.
For Georgia Southern University’s annual “Step into Statesboro,” which introduces GSU students to downtown, Martin coordinates speakers on community history at the historic Van Buren Hospital, which is now a house that she owns, and at Luetta Moore Park and Donaldson Square. She has also spoken to the GSU students herself.
Last year she spoke to students at Transitions Learning Center, the Bulloch County Schools’ alternative program, about pursuing goals and getting along with other people. She said she was well received and enjoyed this as she has other school visits.
If re-elected, Martin said, she plans to hold District 5 meetings every two months, establish one community academic camp, and live-chat with students with a focus on student performance.
In her email, she said the ultimate goal is to allow the Bulloch County school system to rank in the top 5 percent in Georgia.
“I thank District 5 supporters for allowing me to serve as representative for the last four years and would like to continue for the next four years,” Martin wrote.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.