A controversial phone call has one Lowndes County Superintendent candidate in the spotlight-and not in the way she had hoped.
Edna McGill, a Republican candidate for Superintendent, is one of two assistant superintendents with the Lowndes County School District. When students started back to school last Thursday, McGill reportedly used to school district’s Alert Now system to contact over 5,000 parents welcoming students back to school. This is the first time any such message has been sent out.
The Alert Now system has been in place since the 2009-2010 school year. It is designed to be a communication tool between the school and parents and is used with fair regularity, primarily by school principles. By McGill’s count, last week’s message was her third time to use the system since it’s creation three years ago.
When current Superintendent Mike Halford was reached for comment he stated that while he was only made aware of the phone call after the fact it “was nothing more than a general welcome to students.” However, Halford, who has openly endorsed McGill, was quick to add that the phone call should have been made by either himself or each school’s individual principle.
Dr. Peggy Rogers, who is also an assistant superintendent with the LCSD said that she “was not aware of any standard practice where a welcoming message takes place.”
When contacted by The Packet, McGill released her official statement:
As Assistant Superintendent, my responsibilities include public relations and communication to administrators, teachers, parents and student, the Alert Now system is a relatively new and useful tool we have utilized to increase communication to the community. The Alert Now system is a tremendous opportunity to improve our district through enhanced communication by involving and informing parents. I have used this system before in response to a recommendation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to increase communication. My focus is and will always be the well being and success of our students and teachers.
To provide the upmost transparency to the citizens of Lowndes County, I have included the official transcript of the message below:
“Hello. This is Edna McGill, Assistant Superintendent. Welcome to the 2011-2012 school year. I hope your child had a great first day. Your child’s teacher has worked very hard to make this an exciting year. Your child is enrolled in one of the top 30 districts in this state.
Please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s school, or me, Edna McGill, at 244-5000 if we can help you in any way. Thank you.”
McGill further added that there was “no political motivation” behind her phone call and she viewed it “as communication with stake holders.”
The run-off for Superintendent between Edna McGill and fellow Republican candidate Lynn Wright is August 23rd.