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Baker and White are only two to apply for school board seat

The deadline for applications from candidates interested in filling the vacancy created by the recent resignation of Grady County District 5 School Board member Dave Dumas was at 4 p.m. last Friday, and only two candidates made application for the post.
As The Messenger reported last week, John White, an Office of Family Independence administrator with the business operation unit of the Department of Family and Children Services, had applied and, on Friday afternoon, retiring Cairo High School faculty member and veteran girls basketball coach Lucy Baker submitted her application.
“We appreciate both of these community-minded individuals for their willingness to serve as a member of the board of education. Both have unique qualities and either one would make a good school board member,” said Grady County School Superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard.
Coach Baker came to Cairo in 1986 and has been a resident of Cairo at the same address, 623 Eighth Ave., S.E., the entire time.
“I have not always been completely satisfied with my district’s leadership for the last six to eight years,” Coach Baker said in her application.
She also stated, “My heart is for good education and the welfare of our children. To me, this is one of the most important jobs in our county.”
Coach Baker stepped down this year from teaching and coaching, but said she continues to be interested in the county school system.
Ms. Baker came to Grady County Schools in 1984 and worked at Cairo High School until her retirement in June. She has a bachelor’s degree from Valdosta State College in Physical Education and Health.
During her tenure at Cairo High School she amassed a record of 348 wins, two region titles, two “Elite 8” appearances, two “Sweet 16” appearances and 11 state playoff appearances as head of the Syrupmaid basketball program.
She was twice selected as the region’s Coach of the Year and she coached four players who each scored 1,000 points or more during their high school career.
This is not the first time White has shown interest in serving on the school board, having submitted an application in 2013 following the resignation of former District 5 board member Scott Higginbotham.
White, 49, and his wife, the former Tia Rawlins, are the parents of Emily, a rising junior at Cairo High School. The Whites are active members of Cairo First Baptist Church.
Mrs. White is the daughter of former school superintendent Larry Rawlins and Judy Rawlins.
“My main objective in seeking this appointment is to make sure the Grady County Schools are the very best they can be and are preparing our students for whatever direction they choose to go upon graduating from high school,” White said.
“I look forward to working with the members of the school board and superintendent if I am appointed,” White added.
White has been a resident of Grady County since 1992 and has worked in state government for the past 26.5 years.
Dave Dumas resigned last month to accept a job with the city of Cairo Police Department.
To fill the vacancy, the school board will appoint someone to the post until a special election can be held in November 2016 in conjunction with the general election. The winner of that special election will fill Dumas’ unexpired term, which ends Dec. 31, 2018.
School board members are planning to review applications at a budget workshop scheduled for July 7 and vote on an appointment at the board’s July 14 meeting.

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