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SSISD Board of Trustee Hopefuls Speak At Republican Forum

The Hopkins County Republican Party held a nonpartisan forum at the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center focusing on candidates in the upcoming May election. Four candidates are vying for two spots as Board of Trustees for the Sulphur Springs Independent School District. The two spots currently held by Robert Cody and Robbin Vaughn are up for reelection with both of those candidates deciding not to sign up for another election try. Republican chair, Donnie Wisenbaker, gave the opening remarks. Three of the four candidates on the May 6th ballot attended the forum as Wesley Cooper had a scheduling conflict and could not attend. Earvin Larry, Jr., Darla Gibson Reed, and Adam Teer all gave introductory statements and then answered questions posed by moderator Jim Thompson. Numbers were drawn by candidates to determine the order in which the candidates would present their statements. Jim Thompson presented questions ranging from past and future school bond elections, to gender issues, and superintedent relationship to the board.

Earvin Larry, Jr.

Air Force Veteran Earvin Larry, Jr. is a 2002 graduate of Sulphur Springs High School. He currently works at L3 Harris in Greenville. His passion for helping kids through youth sports such as basketball and football drove him to seek election to the board. He has also been instrumental in the “adopt a teacher” program to show thanks to the teachers that work so hard. He is married to Tanya Larry and they have one son who is a sixth grader in Sulphur Springs. They have lived in SSISD for the past 10 years.

Darla Reed

Darla Gibson Reed introduced herself to the crowd as a former teacher previously employed by SSISD as well as the Como-Pickton Consolidated Independent School District. She and her husband also own a dairy as she joked that she didn’t ever want to own a dairy after growing up on her parent’s farm, Jackie and Patsy Gibson. Although now out of the classroom, she felt the need to serve by running for SSISD Board to be of service to teachers, students, and parents.

Adam Teer

Adam Teer began by asking those attending the forum for their vote, as he highlighted he was a product of the SSISD system by attending all school years from kindergarten through high school. He gives credit to the teachers, coaches, and administration that has made him the person he is today. He feels that he owes the district a debt of gratitude therefore he is running for a board seat to repay that debt. He feels that he can serve the faculty and adminstration, and through them, the students by serving on the Board of Trustees.

Wesley Cooper

Unable to attend Republican Candidate Forum due to scheduling conflict. A prepared statement was read by moderator Jim Thompson. That statement included his regrets of not attending the event. He stated “he had changed professions from public education to the private sector in 2011but remains a staunch advocate of eduacating our children to the best of our ability.” He believes that board memeber should act as stewards of the tax dollars, as well as being a bridge between administration and the public. He believes his experience both in public eduacation as well as a business owner gives him the ability to serve as a board member.

Candidate Questions and Responses:

Question 1: Did you support previous bond elections recently defeated by voters? Also, what are your ideas for meeting the needs that were rejected in the earlier bond elections?

Earvin Larry Jr.: Yes, supported past elections. Would like another bond election with changes.

Darla Reed: Yes, supported past elections. Would like to see new bond presented in better way.

Adam Teer: Voted No on first, and yes on second. Would support a new smaller bond.

Question 2: What do you see as the role of the superintendent versus school board trustees?

Earvin Larry Jr.: Superintendent is face of district, board should be extension of community.

Darla Reed: Superintendent should be leader of the district.

Adam Teer: Superintendent should cast vision for district, board should provide accountability.

Question 3: Do you know your school system’s policy dealing with gender identity? What are your thoughts about a student using the restroom of the opposite biological gender.

Earvin Larry Jr.: Does not know current policy, would need more info on deciding.

Darla Reed: Afraid more lenient policy could be tip of iceberg for other issues

Adam Teer: Would refer issue to legal department of district.

Question 4: What ideas do you have to support teachers with discipline issues in their classrooms?

Earvin Larry Jr.: Wants to support teachers in their efforts.

Darla Reed: Knows teachers need more support, administration needs to support teachers.

Adam Teer: Wants to support teachers with students that need discipline.

Question 5: What are your top three priorities if you are elected or re-elected to a position on the school board?

Earvin Larry Jr.: Board transparency, A fair bond proposal, Enhance teacher pay, help improve teacher retention.

Darla Reed: Teacher recruitement and retention improvement through better pay, Transparency of funds spent by administration and district. Support teachers in any way possible.

Adam Teer: Teacher pay raises, teacher retention, smaller fair bond proposal.

The SSISD Board of Trustees portion of the candidate forum wrapped up with moderator Jim Thompson asking if all candidates voted in the last November 2022 election with all candidates affirming that they indeed voted.

Author: Chad Young

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