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New and veteran members of the Hall County School Board were sworn into office Tuesday night.
Bill Thompson, the sole new face on the board, was joined by his family, as he was sworn in by Hall County Superior Judge Jason Deal. Returning board members Sam Chapman and Brian Sloan also took the oath.
Thompson, a former high school principal, said he is as prepared as one can be to replace longtime board member Richard Higgins.
The Gainesville resident won the District 5 seat last July, a post held by Higgins for 12 years.
"My challenge will be to fit into the mold of this board and not create any situations that will be disruptive to the board. (Higgins) did a great job of blending and molding and just great leadership in his 12 years."
The seat on the board is Thompson's first elected office. Before entering politics, Thompson worked full-time in the Hall County school system from 1977 to 2009 and retired as principal at Chestatee High School.
Thompson said his 32 years of experience as an educator and principal will give him insight as to the needs of students and staff.
"I hope to bring the feel of the people that work in the schools. Sometimes we can forget that there are people like us who are just so dependent on what we decide," Thompson said. "I hope to give them insight to those workings and how what we do might affect them in the school each and every day."
To learn some of the ins and outs of the position, Thompson said he's attended every school board meeting since his decision to run.
He also attended a board member training session.
"The No. 1 thing I learned in school board training is that everyone has equal say and we have to work together," Thompson said.
Thompson said his main priority is to stay connected to the schools.
"I guess sometimes it's easy to direct down what you want to happen, but sometimes it needs to come from the bottom up," he said.