PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Mark “Big Chief” Strickland is running for Bay County School Board, district one seat against incumbent Jerry Register.
Who is Mark Strickland?
Strickland said he is a mostly lifelong resident of Bay County. He went to Hiland Park Elementary School and graduated from Mosley High School. He currently lives in Hiland Park with his wife of 36 years, who is a special needs teacher at Hiland Park Elementary School, and his two daughters, one who goes to Mosley and one who is homeschooled, he said.
His father was a minister at Hiland Park Baptist for 25 years, he said.
Strickland has an art education degree from the University of West Florida.
He started his career in education at age 10, volunteering with his mom helping physically impaired kids, he said.
Why did you decide to run?
Up until six months ago, Strickland said he never thought he would run, but he started paying attention to what is going on in the district and felt like it was his “duty to step up and help the district.”
Strickland said he felt it was a calling, crediting his father who he said was the kind of man who would listen and wanted to make everyone feel special. Strickland said running for this seat was much the same feeling.
What are your top three priorities going forward?
- Security for students.
- Bringing the district back up to “A” standards.
- Giving all the employees in the district a voice.
What are your thoughts on Gov. DeSantis’s announcement for increased teacher pay and how would suggest this money be allocated?
Teachers will work no matter the pay because it’s their calling, he said. But they have been underpaid for a long time and it’s time to raise the salary, he added. He also said that we can’t forget about veteran teachers.
What are you suggestions for the pandemic workshops?
The Hurricane has set us up for a great comeback regarding the setbacks we’ve seen with the pandemic, he said. Different kids thrive in different scenarios, whether it be virtual learning or physically in school, he added.
Their public should have confidence in whatever gets decided to bring kids back into school, he said.
How do you plan to deal with the lingering affects of Hurricane Michael regarding student homelessness and mental health?
Mental health professionals in schools are imperative and it’s great that we are getting so many new ones in our schools next year, he said.