With John Filson, chair of the Gainesville City Schools Board of Education, stepping down at the end of his term, a fresh face eagerly waits to join the board.
Kris Nordholz, CEO of Full Media in Gainesville, is running uncontested in this year’s Board or Education race for the District 2 seat.
This year marks his first time running for a political role.
“When he (Filson) decided he didn’t want to do it, I decided to get in and keep things moving,” Nordholz said. “My kids have had a great experience in the school system and I just want to do my part to help keep it moving in the right direction.”
Nordholz was raised in Gainesville, and graduated from Gainesville High School in 1991. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.
After college he moved to Atlanta, where he worked for 10 years. When his wife was expecting their first child, he knew it was time to return home.
His 14-year-old daughter and son, who is in the fifth grade, are enrolled in Gainesville City Schools.
As soon as his kids entered the school system, Nordholz jumped into volunteer and leadership opportunities within the district, including joining Centennial Arts Academy’s Parent Teacher Association Board and its School Governance Council.
For the last few years he has served as the president of the Gainesville Athletics Club, helping raise money for Gainesville Middle and High School sports.
He has also volunteered as a REACH Scholarship mentor for three years and last spring began mentoring football players.
As a mentor, Nordholz said he supports students by giving them someone they can talk to and offering advice.
“As they look into applying for college, I help them answer some questions they wouldn’t know how to ask on their own,” he said. “Mentors help navigate and try to be another resource for them.”
Over the years of immersing himself in Gainesville City Schools, Nordholz has noticed not only the growth of the student population, but its diversity.
“The elementary schools are fantastic, but I think now the focus is making sure facilities are where we need them to be for middle and high school,” Nordholz said. “With such a diverse student population, we need to make sure we’re creating an environment and opportunities for all our students to thrive.”
He believes that one of Gainesville’s biggest strengths is its diversity. By being exposed to children of a range of backgrounds, Nordholz said his kids have gained a real advantage growing up in Gainesville.
Nordholz also recognizes the benefit of the school system’s push for dual enrollment, career readiness and work based learning.
When he attended Gainesville High in the early ‘90s, he said most students went to high school with the goal of eventually going to college.
Now, he said students have more options like earning technical degrees, which can lead to well-paying jobs out of high school.
“I think Dr. Williams (Gainesville superintendent) has great plans with that,” Nordholz said. “I want to continue to make sure that all students, regardless of their background and ability to achieve, get the training they need for the careers they want to pursue.”