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Joe Taylor for Washington County Superintendent of Schools

SPECIAL TO WASHINGTON COUNTY NEWS
Washington County News

When I ran for Washington County Schools Superintendent in 2012, my platform was “Experience, Excellence, Ethics.” In 2020, as I seek reelection, I am running on that same platform.

My “Experience” in 2012 included my service as a veteran of the United States Army, being a small business owner, and having gained varied governmental experience in my professional career. I worked in private enterprise in accounting positions. I had served on the Washington County Planning Commission for ten years, including three years as Chairperson and enjoyed membership in civic groups. My four years of experience as an Assistant Director of Finance for the Washington County School District, and eight years of experience on the District staff as Director of Facilities and Operations were foundational in my preparation for serving as Superintendent of Washington County Schools. I had a license to drive a school bus and did. My passion for our county and our school system was the driving force in seeking to become Superintendent.

My experience today reflects eight years as Superintendent, leading in some of the most challenging and tumultuous times our county, our families, and our schools have ever seen. During the last eight years our district’s priority has been for every student to experience the best education possible. The District has built the new Kate Smith Elementary School and honored the historical importance of the original Kate Smith Elementary by remodeling and updating the cafeteria to provide a modern, spacious District School Board meeting room. We created the WAVE school for our students, and maintained state and national accreditations. When we requested Washington County voters approve a half-cent sales tax for Facilities and Technology, the tax was approved, showing us our citizens considered the return is worth it.

The District also worked through and continues to address challenges Hurricane Michael presented. Since March we have been unified in responding to the Covid-19 challenges. The support of the citizens of Washington County has allowed us to know our students will experience an outstanding education whether we “brick it” in a traditional school setting or “click it” with technology at the forefront.

During my tenure as Superintendent I have completed the Florida Superintendents Special Certification Program, the Dr. Brian Dassler Leadership Academy sponsored by the Florida Department of Education, and the Florida Department of Education School Safety Specialist Training. I am currently on the Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS) Board of Directors and on the Board of Directors for the Florida School Labor Relations Service. I serve as Chairperson for the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium. My school bus driver’s license is still active, and I remain deeply thankful for our civic groups. I recognize the importance of their involvement with our school district.

It’s been said, “Every job is a self-portrait of those who did it.” My goal in 2012 was to have Excellence as our district’s autograph; that remains true today. Excellence is the result of constant improvement. We recognize that as a school district we cannot stand still, and we must continually seek to improve at every level. The WCS District has a responsibility to our students, schools, employees, and to the community to provide excellence. During my time as Superintendent I have never lost sight of that, and we will continue to provide an experience of excellence for our students, families, employees, and community.

No part of my platform is more important to me than “Ethics.” I take the ethics and values I live and operate by very seriously. At a time when trust in government seems to be waning, I continue to believe public servants must be held to high standards. I have a responsibility to the WCS District and to all of Washington County to be transparent, to see value in all, and to respond to each and every concern. I realize that if you have a concern or an issue as a caregiver of a student, your student is what matters most to you when you seek answers. My door has been and will always be open to anyone with concerns. When you trust us with what matters most to you, you will not be wrestling with a faceless bureaucracy that views you as someone outside the system. You will be heard, respected, and valued.

I do ask for your favorable consideration as I seek reelection as the Superintendent of Schools for Washington County. My platform of “Experience, Excellence, Ethics” remains my promise to you and all of Washington County.