School board welcomes new members Welch, Case

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Lincoln County School Board added youth and experience toits rank Monday night in the first meeting of 2009 when recentlyelected members Ricky Welch and Jack Case were sworn in.

Welch takes over the Educational District Three seat of19-year-veteran Joann Holmes, while Case fills the spot vacated byEducational District Four member Steve Rushing. Both former boardmembers chose not to run again for their positions in November’sgeneral election.

After taking the oath of office Monday night and officiallyjoining the board, Welch is now serving in his first electedcapacity. He said he is just happy to be a part of the team.

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“I’m just going into it with an open mind,” Welch said. “Theboard has established a strong academic foundation, and goingforward, I hope I can help build on that foundation and make iteven stronger.”

In the long run, Welch said he hopes his service on the boardwill help clear the way for improved test scores throughout thedistrict.

“I hope we can improve our academics to the point where we areranked nationally,” he said. “I want to help us reach that highacademic status we all want.”

Welch used the relatively light agenda of his first meeting as alearning experience, he said, and will continue to soak up theknowledge of those around him in subsequent meetings.

For now, what he brings to the board is enthusiasm, he said.

“This is something completely new and exciting for me,” Welchsaid. “I would say my strength is that I’m new to this and,hopefully, I will have a lot of fresh ideas I can bring to thetable.”

Balancing Welch’s spirit for the task ahead, Case joins theboard with 38 years of experience in education. He has previouslyserved as a coach and teacher and Loyd Star Attendance Center,principal and assistant principal at West Lincoln Attendance Centerand is a current member of Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s boardof trustees.

School board secretary Michael Posey was once a student ofCase’s.

Case said serving Co-Lin has likely prepared him for the LincolnCounty job, as that governing body deals with much greater volumesof students and teachers and controls a much larger budget. Withthat experience under his belt, Case said he is ready to make animpact on the county schools.

“I want to see the kids get a good, quality education while I’mon the board,” he said. “It looks like we’re going to have a boardwhere everyone agrees on the same level. Things seem to be runningsmoothly. We just need to continue doing what we’re doing and catchup on things that fall behind. Right now, I don’t see anythingfalling behind.”

Superintendent Terry Brister said he feels comfortable about theaddition of both board members, saying that county voters made goodchoices.

“You’ve got Ricky, who is involved in a lot of school activitiesand always has been,” he said. “Then, you’ve got a Jack Case with38 years involvement in Lincoln County schools. By looking at theirresumes, they have the best interest of our students at heart.”

Brister said both new members used their first meeting to soakup information, and each will have time to get accustomed to theprocedures before the board’s duties become strenuous in August inthe next school year begins.

“July and August is when the thick stuff comes in,” he said.”We’ll have the budget, personnel changes and school starting back.But they’ve got plenty of time to get trained up by then.”