GAINESVILLE - Local attorney Ashley Bell made it official Tuesday morning - he will join what appears to be crowded field of candidates in the race for State School Superintendent.
So far, 10 other candidates have declared their intentions to run for the statewide office. Current superintendent John Barge is vacating the post to run against Governor Nathan Deal.
A former Hall County commissioner, Bell had been exploring the idea of a run for the superintendent's post, but he did not make the official announcement until just after 9 a.m. Tuesday.
"I announced over six weeks ago that my wife and I were seriously considering running for State School Superintendent, and we've met with a lot of good people from folks over at SACS to teachers and superintendents from across the state," said Bell on WDUN's Morning Talk.
While Bell is an attorney by profession, he said he has a good understanding of the way the education system operates. He has taken a turn at chairing the governance councils at both Gainesville Middle School and Gainesville High School.
"First, I have two kids in the system," said Bell. "And chairing our charter school's governance councils in the city schools has been a blessing. For those that don't know that governance council is comprised of business owners, teachers and administrators.
"I've sat on those boards for the last four years and we've worked together to figure out tough curricular decisions all the way down to the best way to deliver instruction in classrooms."
In addition, Bell and his wife Lauren have run a non-profit organization with Gainesville City Schools for the last eight years.
"[With] Generation Inspiration...we've given over $250,000 for kids to go to college, to buy them laptops, to help them get to what they think is going to be the next step in their [academic] career," said Bell.
Bell is running as a Republican.
The primary is May 20.