March 20, 2013As the father of two boys – one who is a 12th-grader at Fulton County's Westlake High School and one who will be attending Westlake in a year – I am committed to their future success. I want them to have every opportunity possible and contribute to the world in meaningful ways.
I want to set a positive example for them to follow, and I've tried to be as involved as I can in their school life. I've attended countless parent meetings, school and athletic events over the years, and am an advocate for their education.
Much of my children's future achievement is dependent on their success in school, as well as the success of their school district. Fulton County Schools can pride itself on being a model of state and national excellence. Its academic programs challenge our young people, encouraging them to excel beyond their classroom and become productive citizens.
As the director of external affairs for AT&T, I see firsthand the importance of our students being prepared for a global economy and being ready for the workplace. This is largely due to the oversight of the Fulton County School Board, which has made this a priority through the Fulton County Schools' Strategic Plan.
Through the plan, by 2017, 90 percent of Fulton students will graduate on time, 85 percent of students will be eligible for a Georgia college or university and 100 percent of students will be certified as work-ready.
This is no easy feat. The goals are "audacious," as Superintendent Robert Avossa likes to call them, but they are reachable. But for it to be successful, parents and the community must stay connected and engaged. They must also provide support to their school community, Superintendent Avossa and the Fulton County School Board as we move forward.
When I learned that March 18-22 was Georgia School Board Appreciation Week, it gave me pause as I thought about the relationships between our communities and school boards. A school board's job is not easy. Their work entangles with the two subjects parents hold most dear – their children and their finances.
Fulton County School Board has formed strong parent and community partnerships and acts in the best interest of all children by overseeing strong academic programs and keeping our children safe in their schools.
And as a taxpayer, I'm confident that my family's financial interests are held in high regard through their conservative approach to spending and budgeting.
During School Board Appreciation Week and beyond, I hope you'll join me in recognizing the fine men and women in Georgia who dutifully serve our children and community. In Fulton County, I wish to say thank you to School Board President Linda Schultz, Vice President Linda McCain and members Julia Bernath, Linda Bryant, Gail Dean, Catherine Maddox, Katie Reeves and Superintendent Robert Avossa.
Your work embodies the school district's motto, "Where Students Come First."
Pete Meadows is director of external affairs for AT&T and a member of the superintendent's Community Advisory Council for Fulton County Schools.