All That Fits

A Weekly Column 

by Mary Wilson

Mary Wilson, editor of the Jackson County Advocate newspaper, grew up in the Grandview community. She currently serves as President of Grandview Main Street and works as a development coordinator for the Grandview Education Foundation. You can reach her at

May 25, 2017

Last April, the Hickman Mills School Board, once again, took a dramatic spin. After an election cycle with no competition, on April 13, new directors were sworn in and new leadership was determined, placing Carol Graves in the role of president, and newcomer Brian Williams in the role of vice president. During the same meeting, member Byron Townsend submitted his resignation and promptly exited the meeting. A few days later, member and former president Darrel Curls also resigned, leaving now two vacancies on a board that seems to immerse itself in turmoil.

With new leadership in administration following the departure of Superintendent Dr. Dennis Carpenter, and new leadership at the helm of the Board of Education, the district could stand to use some stability. It is unclear if political agendas have gotten in the way of good, old-fashioned education in Hickman Mills, but what is clear, to me, is that when the going gets tough, those who should have the best interests of the district seem to disappear.

Six people have tossed their name out in hopes of filling the two vacancies created by Townsend and Curls. Though the district is familiar with filling these vacancies in recent years, the board has since turned over a handful of times. Alvin Brooks, Luther Chandler, Priscilla Chatman, Michael Griswold, Loren McGee and Ruth VanDam-Hinds have all expressed interest in filling the void. A few names are recognizable.

Whether they were talked into it, or whether they believe this will look good on a resume, I sincerely hope that whomever the district chooses this week will take the job seriously and serve in the best interests of the children. Turnover and uncertainty have a dramatic effect on leadership, and that can surely be felt like shockwaves throughout the district. The new administration deserves better. They deserve to have a Board who supports them but helps hold them accountable. Our teachers deserve better. Most importantly, our kids deserve better.

Those who are interested in a stepping stone to better their careers, livelihoods or political agendas, I kindly ask you step aside. Leave room for those passionate about education, those who strive to be lifelong learners and who want nothing more than to see the students in Hickman Mills succeed. There’s nothing more important, there’s no other job that matters more, than the betterment of the future for our children. 

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