Republican candidate Barry Herrin is running for the Forsyth County Board of Education District 3 seat, campaigning for further support within the school system for international families and a call for more parent volunteers.
Herrin has lived in the area for at least five years, working as a lawyer representing school districts in Georgia along with several charter schools and dozens of nonprofit school organizations.
He also teaches college and law students and comes from a long line of educators. Herrin said that his mother, brother and grandfather all have experience in the classroom, giving Herrin the opportunity to grow up around a college campus and spend his life surrounded by young students. His growing passion for the classroom and local students along with his experience being a parent himself is what ultimately led him to decide to run for the seat currently held by Tom Cleveland.
The county’s general primary will be held on May 19.
Herrin said that he is proud of Forsyth County Schools as it is one of the best in the state of Georgia, and he believes that, with a background in education and law, he can help bring about change to help as the district continues to grow.
One of Herrin’s priorities if elected to help better incorporate international families into the school system.
Herrin said that, as an outstanding school system, Forsyth County schools attract families from all over the nation and the world. With a growing number of students and parents who do not speak English as a first language, Herrin believes it is important to work closely with these families to make sure both students and parents fully understand the school system and the resources it makes available to its kids.
“We need to help international neighbors plug into the way we teach,” Herrin said.
The school board candidate has also campaigned heavily for the school system to encourage parents and others in the community to volunteer and become more involved in local schools. Herrin has been a volunteer for his entire life, and now serves as the chairman of the school council at DeSana Middle School where his youngest child attends. He has also coached the Denmark High School mock trial team and continues to contribute to Boy Scout troop 254 at Bethelview United Methodist Church.
Herrin emphasized that it is important for parents to volunteer for the benefit of the school system instead of only for their individual students. Herrin said that extra volunteers can replace work that otherwise may need to be done by paid employees, taking away from the district’s budget. He compared the idea to volunteer work that he and others within the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Volunteer Unit did last year, which ended up saving the county nearly $480,000.
Herrin worries that without volunteers, Forsyth County’s growing population could lead to a rise in taxes.
“We cannot expect our schools and extracurricular programs to remain great if only a few parents and teachers do most of the work,” Herrin said in a statement.
Herrin said that parent volunteers will also bring the community and school system closer together. He said that he wants to transform the school system into a neighborhood, a place where families and community members all know each other and feel at home. His goal in this is to “make the educational experience more valuable” to kids.
For those looking to find out more about Herrin and his campaign, they can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.