Tony & Sherill Whiteside Launch a Bid for the District 3 Seat on the Richmond County Board of Education

Tony and Sherill Whiteside announced their candidacy for the District 3 seat on the Richmond County Board of Education. Their aim is to increase family engagement by creating a true partnership between the school system and parents.

The campaign will focus on ways to increase family engagement in an effort to raise awareness about the need to involve parents in the decision-making process, and at increasing involvement at underperforming schools. Tony and Sherill have been engaging parents, teachers, and the administration at every level for the past seven years, and have been very vocal about issues and concerns within the school system.

We are very proactive with our boys' (Cameryn and Anthony) education. Many hours have been spent talking to each of their teachers, principals, the superintendent, and each of our school board members. Why are we running? We know that the only way for any school to improve is by getting parents involved. One way for that to happen is by showing parents that you care.

During a school visit in 2014, my wife (Sherill) and I were helping out as classroom parents in a second grade class. We noticed that there were a few unruly children in the classroom that the teacher could not get a handle on. After trying everything within her power to calm the students, the teacher decided to send them to the office. The students were sent back to the classroom after the administrators made a call to their parents. These same students continued to disrupt the class as the teacher tried her best to continue the lesson with a look of frustration on her face. We did as much as we could, as volunteers, but it was fruitless. That's when I saw the tears start to stream down from my wife's eyes. At that moment we knew that we had to do something.

The have been countless situations just like that one. That's why we decided to dedicate a large portion of our time volunteering each year at the boys' school. We have served on the school council each year, on the PTA/PTO executive board every year, and on committees with the Richmond Count Board of Education. Our goal is to explore as many ways and methods to reach out to parents as possible. One of the ways: meeting parents where they are. Board meetings are stale, so many of the parents of the 32,000 students in our school district do not attend. We have suggested some alternate means of reaching out to parents. Some of those include: video-teleconferencing (Facebook Live, Instagram, or Youtube), home visits, and a mobile parent center (an unused bus). 

Sherill has said, “Some parents just don’t know how or who to address their issues and/or concerns. I want them to know that they can reach out to us for help. They need someone they can count on.”

Tony stated, “We are a team. Parents and voters alike need choices in our political system. They may agree with my views, and my methods for a speedy and parent-centered resolution. They may just want to know that they can talk to a compassionate leader who is in the same situation that they are, and want to see things improve.”

The Richmond County Board of Education is in need of fresh, innovative ideas. We are convinced that new, energetic leadership is one way to spark a shift in the way we do business.

Tony retired from the U.S. Army after 23 years of service. Tony served as the Assistant Supervisor to the Inspector General at the U.S. Army Cyber Command in Georgia. He trained as a financial advisor with Edward Jones after retirement, but then decided to pursue his passion; real estate.  Tony has served on several committees with Georgia Association of Realtors, and is currently a fellow with the Georgia Association of Realtors Leadership Academy. 

Tony has earned a Certificate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for Leading Change in Times of Disruption, a Master of Business Administration (MBA), a B.A. Degree in Organizational Management, and is currently working towards a Certificate from Harvard University for Family Engagement in Education.

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