Meet the two candidates running for Georgia State Superintendent

Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 11:20 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Election season is almost here, and we are giving you a glimpse into the candidates you’ll see on the ballot.

Two candidates are running to be Georgia’s state school superintendent. Both have decades of experience in education and plan to address teacher burnout and school safety concerns.

Alisha Thomas Searcy and Incumbent Richard Woods are no strangers to the classroom. With their experience, both talk about why they feel educators should be paid fairly and how they’ll ensure students and staff are safe on campus.

Managing 1.8 million children who attend schools across the state of Georgia has been Richard Woods’ responsibility for the past eight years.

“The record is clear. I’m really the only candidate that has been a classroom teacher, been an administrator. So you know, I have the experience 30-something years right now in pre-K through 12th-grade education,” said Woods.

During his time in office so far, the former Social Studies teacher has focused on teacher burnout and reducing the number of local tests while also ensuring safety on school grounds.

“For all of us we want to make sure that anyone that steps onto our grounds into our schools are protected that they feel safe because you got to have a safe environment to you know so that our kids can learn,” said Woods.

Woods explicitly wants to increase school resource officers and ensure schools have adequate mental health resources.

When Woods became Georgia’s School Superintendent, Alisha Thomas Searcy was wrapping up her time at the State House of Representatives. Searcy became the first African American elected from Cobb County to serve in the House, where she stayed for six years.

“When I left the legislature in 2014, I went back to school, got a master’s degree in education leadership and also participated in two different very intense superintendent training programs. And then became a superintendent,” said Searcy.

With safety on her mind after the Uvalde, Texas school shooting, where 19 students and two teachers were killed, the former Atlanta-area Superintendent held a roundtable discussion in Columbus.

“We talked about everything from having school resource officers in every school. We talked about mental health and the importance of ensuring that students are doing well,” said Searcy.

Searcy says she also plans to increase starting pay for all teachers to $65,000 yearly to decrease classroom burnout.

“I need voters to know that this is a critical election, that Democrats and Republicans can vote for me as the State School Superintendent because I want to focus on not red or blue, not Democrat or Republican. I want to focus on your child,” said Searcy.

For more information on each candidate’s platforms, click either link below:

Richard Woods

Alisa Thomas Searcy