Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

January 17, 2014

Passion leads to school board run

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — The energy and passion are clear to see from the first glance as Brandi Harris, hoping to spread her desire to get more people involved with Pauls Valley’s schools, is running for a spot on the local school board.

With one of her young sons entering the classroom for the first time and another not far away, Harris began looking closer at the school system. She saw a need for more organized support, specifically for parents and teachers.

That led to her decision to run for a school board office as Harris is going against incumbent Joe Don Looney and fellow challenger Randy McGee during an election on Feb. 11.

“I’m hoping to bring fresh ideas,” Harris said. “I want to bring a voice for the parents, for the teachers. I would like to be the voice for these younger kids.

“I want to bring teachers and parents together and make a difference for the kids.”

Harris has some pretty fond memories of her school days in Pauls Valley as she went through all the grades here with her current husband Jonathon. Both are 2006 graduates of PVHS.

Now they have 4-year-old son J.W. Harris, who is now in pre-kindergarten at Jefferson Early Learning Center, and 6-month-old Major Harris.

She’ll be the first to admit there’s a lot for her to learn about how a school board formerly works.

At the same time Harris strongly believes as a member of the PV Board of Education she can provide parents and teachers alike a place for their opinions and concerns to be heard.

“I know the school board is not the PTA, but it could be a good start for blending teachers and parents together,” she said.

“As a school board member I want to be more active with teachers. I’m a people person, so if I’m on the school board I would welcome anybody contacting me and telling me what they think.

“Being hands-on and active is exactly what I want to bring to the school board.”

The idea of running for school board was at first ignited for Harris when she started thinking about her young son J.W. starting school for the first time.

Working at the Valley Gals salon she owns here in PV, Harris would talk to clients about schools, some of whom are current or former educators. She was quick to join the social media conversations and get more feedback.

All of this talk led to her looking to find out more about parent groups formed to support local schools, teachers and students.

She concluded there was a need for someone to help parents get more involved, for teachers to get more support from parents and for some students to get more assistance with obvious needs, such as hunger and proper clothing.

That’s when the idea of running for a school board office was born.

“I think we’re lacking parent-teacher support and the school board is a good place to start,” Harris said. “There’s nobody to help weave that together.

“School board should be taking the time to listen to parents, to teachers. Teachers need help and the kids need support.

“I like my voice being heard, and I didn’t want to just sit back.

“I want to be active, interested, to be a part of helping these kids. That’s what drives me,” she said.