David Poythress has already dived headfirst into the volatile arena of Georgia educational politics in his bid to become Governor of Georgia in 2010. In the process he seems to have made important alliances with some of the state’s best known educational leaders.
Wednesday morning Poythress was drinking coffee and talking politics with members of the Georgia School Superintendents’ Association at their annual “Boot Strap” conference in Athens. Accompanying him, and introducing him around to their colleagues, were two of Georgia’s most respected educators, Tom Upchurch, President Emeritus of the non-partisan Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, and Harold Barnett, former School Superintendent of the Marietta city schools.
After the meeting, Upchurch said the superintendents were glad to see the Gubernatorial candidate visit Athens, “The educators and especially the Superintendents he met in Athens on Wednesday were happy to speak with him and glad to see him taking an interest in their concerns. David Poythress is aware that we have to have a qualified work force and the only way to have a qualified work force is to provide them with a quality education. David Poythress is committed to ensuring that Georgians are given a quality education.”
Mr. Upchurch said that David Poythress has had an interest in education as long as he has known him, “When he was Secretary of State and when he was Commissioner of Labor he would always show an interest in the issues facing educators and I know as Governor he’d make education a top priority. His policies and the way he works with educators reminds me of Johnny Isakson.”
Harold Barnett was a Georgia educator for thirty-four years, the last fifteen as a school Superintendent, first in rural Cartersville and later in urban Marietta. He said, “David Poythress can connect with people, listen to their concerns, and come up with an appropriate plan of action to address the problems. “David Poythress is insightful, he listens, he measures and evaluates the issues, and then he puts together solutions.”
Two weeks ago, Poythress jumped into the fray over school vouchers and came out flatly opposed to a plan to grant tax money to any parents who wanted to send their children to private schools. “Bottom line, it would destroy public education in Georgia – a very bad idea,” Poythress said.
Lieutenant General (Ret.) David Poythress is the immediate past Commander of the Georgia National Guard. He previously served as the Secretary of State and the Commissioner of Labor and is a Democratic candidate for Governor of Georgia in 2010.
Trevor Southerland is on staff with the Poythress for Governor Campaign.