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Long County BoE Dist. 5: Howard challenges incumbent member Dawson
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Long County Board of Education District 5 representative Julie Norman Dawson is facing a challenge from David “Bubba” Howard.

This is a nonpartisan race. Because there are only two candidates, the May 24 general primary will effectively decide the winner.

The following profiles are based on email responses to questions sent by the Coastal Courier.

Julie Norman Dawson

Dawson, 43, was born and raised in Long County’s Tibet community. She and her husband, Jeff, will have been married for 20 years in August.

They have three children — Harley, 18, Ainsley, 14, and Ryder, 11. Harley graduated from Long County High School on Friday and will attend Columbus State University. Ainsley will be a freshman in August at Long County High, and Ryder will be a sixth-grader at Long County Middle School.

Julie Dawson graduated from Bradwell Institute in 1991 and received a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance with an emphasis in real estate from Georgia Southern University. She attends First Baptist Church in Ludowici and is a member of the Hinesville Area Board of Realtors.

Dawson has been vice chairwoman for all three years that she has served on the school board. She said she attends Georgia School Board Association conferences and obtains continuing education each year.

Dawson said she is a proponent of Move On When Ready, a program that allows high school students to take college courses; and supports the school system’s implementation of Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports, a program designed to support students emotionally and behaviorally with the goal of improving their academic outcomes.

She also lists the district’s installation of a block schedule at the high school with the support of students, staff and administration as an accomplishment. She said she is “not a huge proponent of test scores, but do know they are required in order to receive federal and state funding.”

“I prefer a quality education that prepares students for education beyond high school or the working world,” Dawson said. “I am an avid supporter of the athletic programs, fine arts programs and all extracurricular activities, as I feel when you give children something to do you keep them off the streets.”

She said she has “strived to do what was right for all the children of Long County and placed student achievement at the top of my priority list.”

David ‘Bubba’ Howard

Howard, 41, of Ludowici, has been married for 18 years to his high school sweetheart, Sharmon.

They have three sons — Noah, 18, Grayson, 16, and Chandler, 13. Noah graduated from Long County High School on Friday, and Grayson and Chandler both attend district schools.

David Howard graduated from Long County High in 1992 and attended college. He said he has an industrial/vocational background, “which is one of my platforms in this election.”

He said he and his family attend church, are “major supporters” of the Long County Recreation Department and contribute to local charities. He added that he is an original member of the Touchdown Club, which was formerly known as the Boosters Club, where he was vice president.

Howard said he was appointed to the Rec Department board as co-chairman and “coached numerous football and baseball teams in the community.”

He said that while the Long County School System is good, “I feel there is room for improvement.”

“I would like to improve the relationship between the school and the community,” Howard said. “I would like to see the vocational opportunities expanded at the high school level and for more students to take advantage of the classes offered at local technical colleges. Many parents are not even aware of these programs being available at no cost.”

He added that he “would like to explore the possibility of using community coaches.” He explained that these coaches would not be certified teachers but must be certified by the Georgia High School Association and pass normal school-system background checks.

“In addition,” Howard said, “I also want the employees of the school system, as much as the taxpayers of our community, to feel they have a voice and an ear that will listen to their concerns. My main goal is to work to improve student achievement for the students of Long County.”

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