Humphreys ready to take school board post

December 02, 1996


Staff Writer

Newly elected Washington County Board of Education member Andrew R. Humphreys said he plans to start making good on his campaign promises as soon as possible after he takes office on Tuesday.

"Both Ed (Hayes) and I are anxious to get in there, roll up our sleeves and get to work," said Humphreys, 41, a Halfway business owner. "Recognizing you can't get anything done overnight, the important thing is to get in there and start moving in the direction that the people want you to."

Humphreys revolved his campaign around a systematic plan, divided into "nine points of direction" aimed at improving the quality and consistency of education in the county.


To begin with, Humphreys said he plans to focus on two of his "nine points of direction" - getting more people involved in the school system's decision-making process and putting together a comprehensive plan.

"One of the nice things about the `nine points of direction' I ran on is that they're interrelated - they work together," he said. "A lot of the other points of direction relate back to the comprehensive plan."

In the past, employees have been invited to comment on policies under consideration. However, Humphreys said he'd like to see a more formal mechanism for employee input built into the policy-making process.

"We need to work from day one to reconnect the school board back to its employees," he said.

Employee input should be actively sought regarding the allocation of resources within the school system and ways to save money as well as in policy making, Humphreys said.

Sending out employee surveys and inviting school improvement teams to share their ideas and opinions are two of many approaches to take, he said.

At the same time, Humphreys said he'll push for development of a comprehensive plan.

"Once we put together a comprehensive planning document, then I believe it will make the job of the elected school board a lot easier, especially around budget time," he said.

In order to put together a comprehensive plan, the school board must first identify every need in every school, Humphreys said.

"The initial steps would involve producing a survey that would be sent to every employee in the school system," said Humphreys, stressing that he means that employees at all levels in all departments would be included.

In addition to school system staff, parents would be tapped, mostly through school Citizens' Advisory Committees, he said.

"Sometimes, parents have a different perspective than staff members do," said Humphreys, who has three children in the Washington County public school system and one headed there in two years.

Once all the needs, large and small, are identified, each "school community" will be charged with prioritizing those needs, he said.

Humphreys estimates the process will take about six months.

"Then the board would have before it a comprehensive view of every school in the county," he said.

Humphreys said he anticipates fellow school board members will support both efforts.

"Both of those concepts have been well-received, both by those in the schools and those in the central office," he said.

Of course, the school board has plenty else on its plate over the coming months, including putting together a budget for next year, seeing teacher contract negotiations through, and filling several top management positions coming open with retirements, Humphreys said.

Humphreys and Edwin Hayes will be sworn in with a private ceremony on Tuesday to comply with state law. A public ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. Dec. 9 at the board office.

The job pays $3,500 a year for school board members, $3,600 for the school board president.

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