Clark Menard, a nine-year resident of the county's most southern city, said on Monday he will challenge incumbent District 5 member Rob Usher for the seat.
Menard noted in a press release that he is a "vocal advocate for public education and its beneficial impact on the local community." He added his campaign will also emphasize the need for the school board to include voices from those who are "directly affected by its decisions."
He also said he'd be a tireless advocate for the children and educators in the Cherokee County School District.
"Education is an investment," he said. "It’s a personal investment to each student and allows them to achieve great things as an adult. As important, it’s an investment in our community promoting economic growth. Cherokee County should trust that I have skin in the game."
The most simple — and pressing — issue students face is graduating from high school, Menard said. Georgia currently offers one unified diploma, which labels all stuents as college ready.
This one-track path, Menard added, is "unfortunate" because many students are forced to complete a program "that ill-prepares them for the next stage in their lives, because they have neither the ability nor the desire to attend a university and are under-trained for entry into a highly technical workforce."
"The solution is providing real choice for our students," he added. "Our district has been attempting to establish a college and career academy, and I intend to make this a focal point of my term as a school board member.”
Other challenges faced by students are "rooted in state budgetary cuts," he added. While he understand the state has been forced to make cuts during the troubling economic times, he notes the severity of the cuts suggest the state does not hold education as a priority.
Fully funding the state's Quality Basic Education formula will provide districts with the money needed to purchase new textbooks and hire more teachers to reduce class sizes, Menard said.
Menard, a financial information systems lead at InComm, attended Indiana University, Bloomington and graduated with a bachelor's degree in accounting with specialization in information systems. He's held an active CPA license and in his 20-year career has worked as both a management accountant and IT professional specializing in the implementation of accounting systems.
Menard lives in Woodstock with his wife Dina and their two daughters, Hannah and Gracie. He is a member of the Carmel Elementary School PTA and has volunteered as a softball coach for Cherokee Recreation and Parks Agency's recreation softball league.
The Menards attend His Hands Church in Woodstock.