HomeOpinionOPINION: Serving on committee is hopefully helping JMCSS

OPINION: Serving on committee is hopefully helping JMCSS

Those who read The Jackson Post on a regular basis and pay attention to what’s happening with the Jackson-Madison County School System may see something that looks peculiar to them.

When you look at the appointees for the various committees for the school board for the next 12 months, you’re going to see a name that you wouldn’t normally expect: Mine.

And this is my way of being forthcoming and transparent about that.

JMCSS Superintendent Marlon King asked me if I would be willing to serve on the athletics committee. I told him to give me a day to think about it.

Here were my thoughts: would this affect how I cover JMCSS, would this affect how I cover JMCSS athletics, would there be any situation where I could unknowingly become part of a story that I don’t want or need to become a part of.

And I did have a conversation with Deputy Superintendent Ricky Catlett about that.

The committee is made of board members Jason Compton and Andre Darnell along with Catlett, JMCSS director of athletics Jason Bridgeman, Greg Hammond, South Side Principal Anita Tucker and myself.

A lot of the conversations they have are about policies regarding teams, starting new teams and development leagues within the younger schools and developing ideas for places like Oman Arena and the forthcoming football/soccer/track stadium at Jackson Central-Merry.

King just asked me about being on the committee because of the experience I’ve had covering sports in Alabama and here and having a diverse set of experiences in covering sports.

I will be the eighth priority on a committee of seven when it comes to these discussions.

And also, let me clarify again, this is with the athletics committee. Not that King would’ve, but if he’d asked me to serve on a more substantial committee like budget or capital or whatever committee has a say in determining the curriculum for the district, I would’ve been honored but respectfully declined.

Fortunately, King doesn’t want someone on budget committee who doesn’t belong on budget committee (in this instance, at least).

So you know that if for some reason in the next few months you read about a discussion JMCSS is having about putting a random statue of former Union University assistant football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant at the new JCM football stadium, you have an idea who started that discussion. (His family lived at the corner of King and Highland Avenue less than a mile from the stadium, so it’s not the most outlandish thing to name the stadium after the greatest coach of the 20th century.)

Now for the important question: will this affect my coverage of JMCSS? No.

I told King and Catlett that if in the next year I start digging and asking around about stuff they don’t want to talk about or if I write a column criticizing them or a decision they made and they want me no longer on the committee, I will not be offended one bit if they let me know I’m being removed from the committee.

But my plan is to be in the room for an entire day’s worth of meetings in the board room anyway since they all are scheduled on the same day each month. Athletics meets in the middle of the day. Being an actual part of the meeting will be a nice break from listening to the other meetings.

The fact of the matter is I want every student in JMCSS to be exposed to the type of education that can mold each of them into the person God designed them to be before they were ever born, and I want that education to be a big part of that molding. I want the graduation rate to be 100 percent with every graduate being prepared to go into college or a trade school or the military or the workforce adequately prepared for whatever choice they make.

And I’m willing to help in whatever capacity I could to make that happen. I’d hope we all have similar thoughts like that.

Will a graduate’s life trajectory be changed because I’m on this committee? Probably not. But if we can possibly help everyone associated with JMCSS succeed, then we should all be available to do our part.

Brandon Shields is the managing editor of The Jackson Post. Contact him at brandon@jacksonpost.news. Follow him on Twitter @JSEditorBrandon or Instagram @Editorbrandon.

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