Suwannee County School Board Member Jerry Taylor recently announced that he was selected as the president-elect for the Florida School Boards Association (FSBA) for the 2017-2018 school year at the June 27 Suwannee County School Board (SCSB) Regular Meeting.

            Taylor, who is currently the chairman for the five Suwannee County School Board Members, has served on the board since 1996. Taylor says he became involved many years ago with the FSBA to ensure smaller school districts, like Suwannee, have a voice in state politics. Taylor says, “I felt like board members from smaller districts were not truly represented at the state level. So I first became involved by being on the nomination committee.” Taylor was encouraged by other FSBA officials to seek a position himself after serving on many nominating committees with the FSBA. Taylor then decided to run for treasurer and held that positon for a year.

            Taylor took a couple of years off from the FSBA before again being encouraged by the FSBA to apply for a position. This time, Taylor ran for vice president and earned the nomination. Taylor served for a year as the vice president before looking to become the FSBA president. Taylor says, “If I’m going to serve as vice president, I might as well shoot for the moon and see what happens.” Taylor officially interviewed this past March for the president-elect, which he will hold that position for one year. Taylor says his role and responsibilities as president-elect this year will be to familiarize himself with policies and laws set forth by the FSBA. Taylor will also have to attend at least three regional or national meetings, which he will attend his first conference in August. Taylor says, “The biggest thing is a name to a face type recognition and learning the process.” Additional responsibilities for Taylor include a trip to Washington, D.C. in September to meet with federal legislators to discuss concerns and issues the FSBA has.

            To the best of Taylor’s knowledge, this is the first time the president-elect for FSBA has been from a small, rural district. Taylor says, “Personally, I am thrilled because that is what I have strived for. I wanted to bring more attention to smaller districts. To get rural district board members involved in the leadership process of FSBA and to help shape and formulate policies is what is important. Hopefully there will be others to follow.”

            Taylor says traditionally the FSBA president selects something during his or her tenure that they want FSBA to focus on. Taylor says his primary goal once he is in office is to focus on early childhood education. Taylor says, “Under my leadership, FSBA will focus on partnering and working with other entities around the state for early childhood learning.” Taylor referenced the Early Learning Matters (ELM) Program SCSD uses and the success ELM has enjoyed since it started. Taylor says, “I am very passionate about those beginning years and getting children prepared for their academic career. I believe those early formative years are key to a child’s success.”