HOLMES COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Buddy Brown (R) is running for Holmes County superintendent against incumbent Terry Mears (R).
Who is Buddy Brown?
Brown lives in Westville.
He said he is a third generation educator including his aunts and his grandfather.
Brown’s father was an Air Force career man. Brown said he was born in Taiwan but he moved to Holmes County when he was 3.
He graduated Holmes County High. He attended Chipola College and went on to Florida State for two years but transferred to the University of West Florida where he got his Bachelor’s degree in social sciences. He would later earn a Master’s in education leadership.
He was also a member of the Florida Army National Guard for 20 years.
He is a member of the Westville Community Baptist Church.
“I have no children, but then again I do,” Brown said. “Every child that’s ever come through with me, I consider mine.”
He said he has certifications in teaching social studies and principalship in the state of Florida.
He was a principal in Holmes County for 10 years. He was also a classroom teacher and a coach for various sports. He was deputy superintendent under another superintendent and worked at the district’s office as personnel director. He also served as the facilities director for the construction of the Bonifay K-8 school.
Currently, he is the assistant principal at Marianna Middle School and will be moving over to the Marianna K-8 school.
“One thing I like to say about being an educator, it really is a calling,” he said. “If you’re not prepared to sacrifice your personal time, even sometime a part of yourself for it, you really need to rethink being an educator.”
What part of your prior experience best prepares you to be superintendent?
Being a principal, Brown said, as well as working in the district’s office.
He also mentions his military experience for what it taught him about leadership, decision making, problem solving and team building.
“I’m going to set the example,” Brown said referencing various certifications and training programs he said were laid out by the Department of Education.
“I’m not really sure in the current superintendent did those things.”
“If you have someone that’s managing a $30 million budget a year, you want that person to be as qualified and as in the know as they can be,” he added.
What changes would you make to the budget?
Brown said he would like to devote more funds to student education which includes everything from school busses to curriculum changes.
“That’s the biggest dragon we have here in this area, Holmes County included,” Brown said. “Our children are having to leave hereafter they graduate high school to make a living.”
What other changes would you like to see?
“Me as superintendent, to begin with,” Brown said.
“I did work for Mr. Mears for a little while but he decided that I was no longer worthy to work for him,” Brown added. “I’ll be quite frank, it was politically motivated.”
Brown said he wants to use the skills he has to make Holmes County a better school district. While he said he applauds the district for having an increasing graduation rate within the last year, he said it also has a higher dropout rate.
“Are we increasing our graduation rate at the expense of other students?” Brown said.
He said to address this problem, he would identify the most at-risk students for dropping out early and provide support for them as well as involving their parents.
“I feel that right now in Holmes County teacher morale is the lowest it’s ever been,” Brown said. “How do I know that? Because they call and tell me and they tell me specifically why.”
He said he would also like to focus on team building within the Holmes County school district, citing his military experience in leading two separate commands.
How do you plan to raise morale among staff?
“Speak to them as equals, not subordinates,” Brown said.
Brown said loyalty starts at the top and works its way down.
Brown said he uses “we” and “our” to describe the school district a lot.
“It’s about team it’s not about me.”
Brown said overall, improve the climate of the workplace.
What are your thoughts on career and technical training?
For it, he said.
Brown said not all seniors who graduate want to go to college.
“That doesn’t mean that we don’t train and try to prepare them for university or college but they still need to have those options to do other things.”
He also said he thinks training with technology is important.
Be careful and wear a mask, even if you don’t necessarily believe in it or the science behind it, there’s no harm in alleviating someone else’s fears.