Jimmy Spivey says he’s reminded of the importance of education every day as a correctional officer at a federal prison in El Reno, and he is hoping to take that understanding and his previous experience to the Piedmont school board.
“I see offenders on a daily basis that don’t even have a GED,” Spivey said. “I talk to them and they tell me if they would have had an education they wouldn’t be here. We have to show kids that education will bring you what you want in life.”
Spivey, a candidate for school board seat No. 4, wants to expand the opportunities education creates in Piedmont. He moved to Piedmont over two years ago after looking for a new community between Oklahoma City, where his wife works, and his job in El Reno. After researching school districts, Piedmont was their top choice.
Spivey is a big believer in the district but also believes things can always get better.
“I can always see improvement in anything,” Spivey said. “I think that’s something we have to strive for. I want to be here the rest of my life, I love it here. I think it’s important to have a vision for a community that is growing like Piedmont is and I think there are a lot of areas I can be influential in.”
Spivey is a first time candidate in Piedmont but has previously served two terms on the school board in Hinton. He believes that previous experience will allow him to hit the ground running, if elected, and will provide him with the knowledge of what it takes to be a successful board member.
“I think my experience as a board member brings a lot to the table,” Spivey said.
One of the areas Spivey said he is experienced in is working closely with community and political leaders to create more resources for schools. Spivey believes many public school mandates have put an unnecessary burden on school districts, like Piedmont, and he wants to help put more of that money back into the classroom.
“So many mandates are forced upon us that are not funded,” Spivey said. “Part of my role as a board member would be about meeting with representatives and senators and talking about those regulations.”
In addition to actively communicating with local leaders, Spivey also believes a successful board member should be engaged with school district residents in an effort to hear their concerns and ideas. It’s a lesson he learned while in Hinton and he is eager to bring that experience in Piedmont.
Spivey also said he has a clear understanding on the importance of programs offered to students in the district and would like to lead the district in not only strengthening existing programs, but looking for possible ways to offer more to students.
“We are very much into what our kids do,” Spivey, a father of three, said. “We have football players, wrestlers, band students and gifted students. We are pretty much into everything.”
As the district grows and looks for ways to offer its students more opportunities, Spivey said he understands that funding will be a big issue. That’s why he believes it is vitally important for the district to have a strong relationship with the local business community.
“We need to be bringing businesses in that will take some of the tax burden off of our residents,” Spivey said. “I think (as a board member) you have to work with the community leaders, you have to push for economic development. One thing that people look at when they try to bring their business into a community is schools. I think that having these great schools is very important to bringing in economic development.”
In addition to helping spur economic development, Spivey has a long list of other areas he would like to focus on, which include expanding the district’s use of energy conservation, increase support staff and initiate substance abuse programs. Spivey is campaigning on an ambitious platform, but with prior experience as a board member, he believes he will be able to give a position on the board the attention it requires.
“This is not a part time job, this is not a once a month board meeting,” Spivey said. “It’s something that you strive for and work on all the time.”