If the philosophy of the newly-elected School Board Chairman Jerry Randolph could be summed up in two words, it would be "get involved."
Mr. Randolph, who has served on the board for five years, believes spending time with students guiding and encouraging their education - both in and out of the classroom - is an investment in the future.
Newly-elected School Board Chairman Jerry Randolph poses with a lawnmower at Sears.
"The old clichÈ is 'children are our future,' and that's very true. If we sit back and don't pitch in and help, we have nobody to blame but ourselves," he said.
A Thomson native who grew up in the school system and graduated from Thomson High School, Mr. Randolph knows first hand the importance of programs that connect students to their communities and help them develop skills.
"I would stress to people to get involved in the schools, and the mentoring programs. There are a lot of opportunities out there," he said.
Mr. Randolph, who is retired from Bell South after more than 31 years of service and now owns the local Sears store, believes serving on the school board is a way to give back to the community. He also finds it rewarding to work with students and with educators.
"I have always been a 'people-type' person. I love coaching young people and teaching them to develop and grow and become productive citizens."
He said a variety of extracurricular activities play important roles in preparing children for the future by teaching skills, team work and responsibility.
"Sports, band, one-act plays, and mechanics -- all are important. You never know what skills you might need later."
Mr. Randolph said he is honored to be chosen to lead the board, a harmonious group of individuals who share the goal of ensuring McDuffie County children get the best education possible.
"I haven't worked with a better bunch of people. We are all dedicated to the education of our kids, and to our school system," he said.
"I'm the chairman, but we can't do anything by ourselves. We work as a board, and all decisions are made by the board."
When he is not conducting school board business or running his store, Mr. Randolph finds time to serve as a co-host for a radio sports program, and runs 15 miles each week.