Houston BOE bids farewell to outgoing member

PERRY -- After 17 years working with the Houston County school system in a variety of capacities, Jim Maddox attended his last school board meeting as a board member Tuesday.

Earlier this year, he decided not to run for re-election. Maddox has three children, all of whom have graduated from high school and are in college. His daughter, Anna, is on the soccer team at Samford University in Alabama, which has meant a lot of travel to attend games.

In addition, Maddox owns Sphinx Business Solutions in Macon.

“I need to be working some, paying for three kids in school,” he said.

His fellow board members each took time to address Maddox in their comments and described him as a “passionate, compassionate” person.

Helen Hughes, a board member since 2009, said she felt she was one of the few people who didn’t know Maddox when he began his term in 2011. She had heard about his dedication to the school system, though, and she learned about his character during his time on the board.

“Quite simply, he’s a righteous man,” Hughes said.

Maddox began working with the schools as a Field Day coordinator at Quail Run Elementary before serving as a PTO vice president and then president for two years each. He was then on the school councils at Quail Run, Thomson Middle and Northside High before beginning his term on the board.

While Maddox said people have asked if he was relieved to be at the end of that run, it was actually quite the opposite.

“I’ve tried to express over and over about how much of a privilege this has been,” he said.

Despite all that focus on roles in the school system, Superintendent Mark Scott said Maddox’s priority has been obvious. Besides a commitment to proofreading the board’s work, Maddox’s involvement always seemed to be as a parent first, Scott said.

“It really says a lot about you to dedicate the time and energy to your children,” Scott said.

Hoke Morrow was elected to fill the seat on the board that Maddox will vacate at the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the board did not announce any action regarding the fight between a student and teacher Daniel Kelly at Northside High School last week or police involvement in perceived threats there or at Houston County High School.

Board member Skip Dawkins thanked the police department and school resource officers for their assistance, though.

“They come into our school systems, and our kids know them by name and respect them,” Dawkins said of the officers.

The board voted unanimously in favor of three items:

A revision to the school system’s cell phone policy to allow students to use mobile devices for instructional purposes, at a teacher’s discretion.

A guaranteed cost of $11,171,893 for renovations at Houston County High School;

The nomination of Dawkins to represent the system at the National School Board Association’s Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C.

To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331.