Former chairwoman Cathy Williams wants to be on the Muscogee County School Board again.
Williams, president of NeighborWorks Columbus, qualified Thursday to run for the board’s District 7 seat. She was the nine-member board’s lone countywide representative for eight years before deciding to not seek re-election in 2014, when real estate company owner and former teacher Kia Chambers won the seat.
In an interview with the L-E six months ago, when asked whether she would run again, Williams said, “I think if I were to even consider it, it would probably be after I retire.”
Williams, 58, isn’t retiring, so she explained the change of mind Thursday by saying, “I wasn’t satisfied with those who have qualified.”
I have such passions for both public education and this community that I feel compelled and called to do this.
They are former board member Norene Marvets, a jeweler, and Shelia Williams, executive director of B&O Services.
The Ledger-Enquirer reported last month that District 7 representative Shannon Smallman won’t seek re-election. Cathy Williams said she was going to support Joseph Brannan, assistant general manager for PMB Broadcasting, but he decided not to qualify, she said, despite filing March 3 a declaration of intent to accept campaign contributions. Brannan wasn’t reached for comment Thursday.
Qualifying for the May 24 nonpartisan election ends Friday at noon.
Cathy Williams said, “I have such passions for both public education and this community that I feel compelled and called to do this. I still have something to offer.”
Smallman, whom she called “a terrific board member,” is Cathy Williams’ campaign manager, and Brannan is her campaign treasurer.
“We do have some low-performing schools, but they are doing better,” she said, “and I want to continue that work.”
Sheila Williams said in a news release Thursday, “We must begin to value and take care of our people again, starting with our teachers. It’s been way too long since teachers have been given raises. That’s one way to begin the process of fixing the nearly 20 percent of perpetually failing schools in Muscogee County.”