Meet Your School Board Member: Jim Gardner

By  | has sent letters to all of the School Board members asking them to participate in Meet You School Board Member.  One person each week will be highlighted until everyone on the School Board has been represented.  School Board members were asked to submit a three part article, including a short bio, their answer to the question, "What do you see as the most important issue(s) facing the Central Community School System over the next few years?," and anything else that they would like to say to the citizens of Central.  Responses will not be changed or edited without the consent of the School Board Member who submitted them.  This week's School Board Member is Mr. Jim Gardner of School Board District 5.

My roots run very deep in Central.  As a teenager, I helped my mother run a grocery store at the corner of Joor and Hooper Roads where a dentist’s office currently stands.  At an early age, I learned the meaning of responsibility and hard work.  Throughout my years in Central High School, I participated in football, basketball, baseball, and track.  Using my education from Central schools and the work ethic learned from my parents, I entered LSU on a football scholarship.  I became the first athlete from Central to play football.  It was at LSU that I earned my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education.  I later earned my doctorate at McNeese State University.  My entire life has been in education.  I have been a math teacher, a PE teacher and coach, and later in my career, a college computer science professor.  I have been a principal, assistant principal, central office supervisor, and state department of education administrator.  For several years, I worked in the private sector as an educational consultant, but the call to come home to Central was great.  I am married to Mary Ann Gardner, a retired state department of education special needs administrator.  We have six children, seventeen grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.  We are both active members of Zoar Baptist Church.

The most important issues facing the Central Community School System over the next few years will be to continue to strive for excellence in academic, vocational, athletic, and extracurricular activities in our school programs. This requires an understanding and a commitment to the process which leads to excellence in all facets of our school system. As our school system grows over the next few years, we must have a strategic plan that leads us to have a rigorous curriculum with the best teachers, best administrators, and best facilities. Important issues of growth as it affects student/teacher ratio, teacher pay, and establishing a culture for excellence need to be addressed in the near future.

The citizens of Central deserve the best effort our school board can muster in accomplishing our mutual goals.  The strength of our school system will be determined by how the board and citizens work together over the next few years. It is imperative that we know the price of excellence and not accept anything less than what it takes to succeed.  As the board member from District 5, I commit to use my knowledge, expertise, and wisdom to make the Central Community School System the best it can be.