The Union Recorder

November 14, 2012

Interim Couch resigns from school board

Vaishali Patel
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Baldwin County Board of Education interim Mike Couch of District 3 provided the school board and Superintendent Geneva Braziel with his letter of resignation Tuesday, effective Nov. 30.

“I made a commitment to the community that I would resign in the month of November,” Couch said. “I will be available until [Nov. 30] to perform any necessary duties associated with my office.”

Former Vice Chair Ray Markwalter served the district for 2 1/2 years before resigning in October 2011 due to recurring health problems. Among the District 3 candidates who openly expressed an interest in filling the spot and serving out the remainder of Markwalter’s term were former Baldwin High School Principal Lyn Chandler, Couch, now the former Milledgeville city planner, and educators Louise Austin and Mike Screws, both of whom previously ran for the post against Markwalter in 2008. The school board appointed Couch to the seat at a called meeting last November.

“My time with you has been personally and professionally rewarding and has only solidified my understanding of the challenges public education faces day-to-day,” Couch said in his resignation letter. “To the staff and superintendent, thanks for your patience and understanding of one, as I, who probably asked too many questions. I commend you for your dedication and commitment; we in Baldwin County are fortunate to have professionals as all of you.”     

On behalf of the school board, Chairman John Noah Jackson, District 4, said board members look forward to working with Couch in continuing to progress the school system and the Baldwin County community in the future.

“We thank Mr. Couch for his hard work and dedication he’s given to the Baldwin County school system. He’s been a productive member since day one and provided very insightful recommendations,” Jackson said following Tuesday’s meeting. “It has been a pleasure working with Mr. Couch over the last year.”

With the District 3 post vacant in December, the school board can still operate as long as a quorum is established, or a minimum of four board members are present in order to conduct business. 

“We will seek legal council to proceed with our next step in filling the vacancy on the board,” Jackson said.

Chandler announced his plans to run for the District 3 seat in May of this year, and he was unopposed in the nonpartisan race. 

“The board looks forward with working with Mr. Chandler and continuing the school system’s mission of educating to graduate,” Jackson said.

As a board member-elect Chandler will officially begin his four-year term come January, but plans to attend the Georgia School Board Association’s annual conference in Atlanta with fellow members to receive board member training.

“The training for the board is in December, so it’s natural to me that I step out of the way. It’s logical and timely in doing what I said I would,” Couch said. “I wish the best to all of [the school board members] and particularly to Mr. Chandler for stepping forward to fill this seat.”

The school board will next convene Tuesday, Dec. 11 at the board office located off U.S. Highway 441 bypass.

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