May 20, 2014

Lock: Win validates school system ‘heading in the right direction’

Rodney Lock says winning is a sign that the majority of the community agrees with the direction the Whitfield County Board of Education is heading in. And that’s reassurance he needed, he said.

Lock, a Republican, is set to run uncontested for re-election for the District 2 seat on the Whitfield County school board. No Democrats qualified. That district covers Cohutta and the northeast part of the county.

Lock defeated Jamie Johnson, a lieutenant with the Dalton Police Department, with 2,249 votes (55.81 percent) to 1,781 votes (44.19 percent). The results are unofficial until certified by the Secretary of State and do not include provisional ballots for votes that need to be verified before being counted.

Lock said with economic recovery in the headlines he hopes a second term will be easier than his last term, which was marked by board members’ decision to raise the property tax due to funding shortfalls.

“I want to get in there and support where things are going,” Lock said. “We are heading in the right direction. Give us three years and you will see more changes.”

Lock said Superintendent Judy Gilreath’s leadership is a turning point for the school system. He added he is likely going to vote to renew Gilreath’s contract, which expires June 30.

“Test scores will continue to go up,” he said. “We will be more in line with Common Core as we move forward. I think having Judy is great. She communicates well with the board. We, as a board, all work together very good, too. There are lots of things set in motion. Judy is hitting her stride, straightening things out. We are in good shape and I really do appreciate people putting their trust in me again.”

Johnson congratulated Lock on his win and said he believes the school system is “heading in the right direction.”

“I support those guys,” he said of the board. “They have a good superintendent. I’d like to see the community stand up for the school board and schools. It’s a good time for us to get behind them.”

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