Debra Jones Smith has won the Republican primary runoff for the post 1 seat on the Hall County Board of Education.
Smith obtained 58.77 percent of the vote, while her opponent Tim L. Glover received 41.23 percent of the vote.
Smith retired from Hall County Schools after 38 years and now works for the University of North Georgia in the Educational Leadership program. She told WDUN's Martha Zoller one issue facing the school board is “revamping” the way schools communicate with parents.
“We need to let them have a say in what’s going on, some of the issues I think will be things that we have to give parents a choice on because it’s their children and we serve them,” said Smith.
Smith said she hopes to ensure that reading materials and curriculums are appropriate for students.
"I don't want to be teaching things that parents don't want their kids to have," Smith said. "If it's something that we can give a choice on, outside of the traditional education that we offer, we need their input. We need to know what they think and what they would like."
Following the mass school shooting in Texas, Smith said school safety is also another aspect she would like to improve. She said Hall County already has a strong sense of school safety, but she would like to further involve the Georgia Emergency Management Safety Agency in Hall County Schools.
"Most of what's happened in schools around the country lately, it's not been involved in going in the front of the school -- it's been getting inside doors and other things," Smith said. "So I think we always need to be on top of that and look at what can we do better. We already have school resource officers in Hall County. We also have someone in every school in charge of safety, someone that's actually paid on the staff -- a stipend to be in charge of school safety. And so we've done a lot of things that other counties aren't doing. But if there's anything we can do to raise the bar even more, we need to do that."
She also strives to make benefits and pay for Hall County staff more competitive, in order to attract and retain teachers. She said small class sizes are an effective way to give teachers a beneficial teaching environment.
"We've got to have those cultures and those climates in our school that support teachers and make them feel appreciated and feel good about their jobs," Smith said. "So definitely we've got to look at the keeping the teachers and making sure we've got great teachers in place."
Smith will face Democrat Angela Thomas Middleton in November.