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What Hall school board member hopes to accomplish in new state position
Mark Pettitt
Mark Pettitt

Mark Pettitt, who has served on the Hall County Board of Education for two years, was voted Monday as the District 9 representative for the Georgia School Boards Association Board of Directors. 

The board helps to mentor, train and provide information for school boards across the state, and it can assist school districts in writing policy or conducting searches for superintendents, among other services. The association’s goal is to ensure excellence in the governance of local school systems by providing leadership, advocacy and services, and by representing the collective resolve of Georgia’s elected boards of education, according to its mission statement. 

Pettitt said he submitted his name for the position because the current representative from District 9, Elaine Wilson from Dawson County, is stepping down as her term expires. Board members serve three-year terms and can serve up to two terms. 

“I reached out to all the school board members in this district (about 80 members) and asked for their support,” Pettitt said.

This is the first time Hall County will have one of its own elected to the board since Nath Morris, the vice chair of the Hall County Board of Education, was elected president of the board in 2014. 

“It just gives Hall County a better voice, a stronger voice at the state level, among other boards and other districts,” Pettitt said. 

He said he is looking forward to acting as a liaison between Hall County and the rest of the state to learn more about how different districts operate. The board conducts workshops across the state where school districts have the opportunity to learn from one another and hear different solutions for problems they may face. Hall County has also been the beneficiary of these collaborations, Pettitt said. 

“There was a presentation by Effingham County Schools, and the school board had recently purchased a farm, if that sounds familiar, well it should,” Pettitt said. “I’m sitting there in that class and I’m thinking, ‘what a great idea. … I can’t wait to tell my colleagues on the school board and Superintendent (Will) Schofield what a great idea that would be.’”

That workshop may have been part of the kernel to get to Hall’s current facilities and future plans for agribusiness education. The district already has a farm with 30 cows in North Hall, and it has plans for a meat processing plant. 

“We’ve been able to build what I think is going to be a world-class opportunity in agri-education for students,” Pettitt said.

District 9 includes school boards representing Gainesville city, Banks, Dawson, Fannin, Forsyth, Gilmer, Habersham, Hall, Lumpkin, Pickens, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, and White counties.

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