On Tuesday, January 12, 2021, two members of the Chattooga County Board of Education were sworn in by Chattooga County Associate Probate Judge Becky Duke.
Eddie Elsberry: elected to represent District 1, currently serves as board chair
B.J. Montgomery: elected to represent District 5
Elsberry was appointed in June 2019 to fill the unexpired term left by John Turner who resigned. Elsberry was unopposed in the primary and general election.
Montgomery defeated Chad Dodd in the republican primary, Montgomery was unopposed in the general election. The District 5 seat was held by John Agnew, who did not seek reelection.
Elsberry told AllOnGeorgia, “I am honored to be able to serve the community another term on the BOE and I appreciate the confidence of the voters to hold such a role. This term will be my third full four-year term plus the two years of filling of the District 1 vacant seat.”
Elsberry says through his time serving on the Board of Education, “there have been a lot of tough moments and lost sleep in those years. The 2008 great recession was devastating to all schools systems in Georgia. We were lucky to have such a great team of Administration and Board to get our system through that very tough time. Mr. Poole, Dr. Pullen, Fuzz Anderson, Eddie Massey, Terry Money, Dot Johnson, and myself worked cohesively to get through the recession, the austerity reductions and the multiple cuts in funding and services with minimal impact to the students and staff. Mr. Lenderman, Mr. Massey, Mr. Weesner, Mr. Turner, Ms. Lewis, Mr. Agnew, Mr. Williams, and Ms. Dellenbach made some hard decisions in their years too and their work set us up to have a healthy reserve and also continue on with the vision we had in 2010 to build a new High School, improve student achievement and improve facilities. I am grateful to them for the work they did. The people of our county has been very good to our school system and shown they trust us to be good stewards of their money. Without the ELOST and SPLOST funding we couldn’t do all that we do and have all that we have. We all take pride in that and thank them for that trust.”
COVID Impact on Education
“Then along comes 2020, WOW! The impact Covid as had is far more than I can name or list. Changes in operations, social distance, and the economic impact it has had is probably the single biggest challenge in public education for everyone, it certainly has been in my years on the board. The economic impact is a very fluid matter because so many variables are in play with the Covid virus. We do not know what, if any more cuts will come from the state as a mid-term adjustment but the current board of myself, Mr. Hayes, Dr. Houston and Mr. Montgomery with the leadership of Mr. Hosmer as superintendent will work to be the best we can be. Being on a school board is a very rewarding but challenging role. Even though the issues sometimes seems insurmountable there is always a number of success stories in the system that makes it all worth it. At the end of the day if I can say I feel I have made the best decision for our students based on the information I have, I am at ease.”
The Chattooga County Board of Education still has one seat open from the passing of Mr. Ballard. Elsberry says the Board will vote on who will fill the Menlo seat in regular session this month. January’s Chattooga County Board of Education meeting will be virtual.