By Alyssa Schnugg
Lafayette County residents who live in District 1 of the Lafayette County School District will head back to the polls next week to elect one of two men to represent them on the school board.
On Nov. 3, Jamie Anderson, Chick Drewrey, Andrew Bilbo and Steve Treloar vyed for the seat left open by former board member Brent Larson who left the board after winning his election for Supervisor last year.
No one received 50+1 percent of the votes during the election; however, Anderson and Drewrey received the most votes, with Anderson garnering 38.6% and Drewrey with 31.2%.
Anderson and Drewrey will face off on Nov. 24 in a run-off election.
Elections results were certified on Friday.
Absentee voting is going on now, according to Lafayette County Circuit Court Clerk Jeff Busby.
“We will be open this Saturday (Nov. 21) until 5 p.m. for absentee voting,” Busby said.
Only those who live in the District 1 area of the county should vote on Nov. 24.
Hotty Toddy News asked each candidate why they decided to run for this seat and what makes them the best candidate. Here are there answers:
Jamie Anderson, a pharmacist by trade, graduated from Lafayette schools in 1988 and praises his teachers there who helped push him to achieve more than he ever thought he could.
“Lafayette County schools currently are an ‘A’ grade and I see Lafayette having some opportunities to improve, but how do we get them to an A-plus?” he said. “I want to be a board member that pushes the schools, the educators, the students, the administrators to achieve more than they thought they could and make Lafayette a great school district.”
Anderson said if elected he hopes to help the district improve its drop-out rate.
“In 2017-2018, Lafayette had a drop-out rate of 17%, and the state average was 16%,” he said. “I want to look at how we can decrease that.”
Anderson also wants to look at how the district can help those students who don’t plan on going to college after graduation.
“What are we doing for those kids to help them develop skills that will make them more valuable in the workplace?” he said.
Other goals for Anderson, if elected, including improving communication between students/parents and educators; the administration and the board members; focusing on the bottom 25% of students; and financial transparency and efficiency.
“I believe we should make what we do at Lafayette transparent,” he said. “Are we addressing basic needs financially or wants? We need to make sure we have the basic needs – the supplies, school buses – or are we spending money on wants?”
Anderson said he is a “big fan” of in-person education would push for keeping the schools safe due to the COVID-19 pandemic to allow all students the ability to be in school to learn.
Anderson said he believes his experience in running a large organization with $80 million in revenue with 150-200 employees gives him leadership experience. He has also served on a school board for a private school in Columbus.
“I do my homework and I ask the right questions,” he said. “I’m not just going to rubberstamp whatever comes through.”
Anderson, who earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, has two children attending Lafayette County schools, Olivia in the ninth grade and Carson who is in the sixth grade.
Chick Drewrey said his love for Lafayette County schools is what motivates him to be on the Board.
“From the lower elementary to the high school, the district children, faculty and staff are very important to me,” he said. “I want their future to be even brighter, and I will work hard to achieve that if elected to serve on the school board.”
Drewrey has worked as a teacher, coach and school administrator for the district.
“I believe that my experience in so many areas of the school will benefit Lafayette if elected to the school board,” he said. “I know the inner workings of the school business, and my vision for the future will be an asset in making decisions and setting policies that will benefit the students of today and tomorrow.”
His familiarity with the schools and those who walk the halls is what Drewrey says puts him above the other candidates.
“I know the kids who ride the school bus because I’ve taken the route with them. I know the bus drivers who transport our children because I served as the district transportation supervisor,” he said. “I’ve worked in the cafeteria, the alternative school, the central office and I’ve helped supervise the coaches as the district’s athletic director. There isn’t one facet of the school business at Lafayette I haven’t experienced.”
Drewrey said his goals for the district are simple but accomplish what is most important and that is to always do what is best for the students.
“There will be no other agenda,” he said. “I will always do what is right for every child, just like they were one of my own. I will never be a ‘Yes’ man, and I’m not afraid to make the tough decisions.”
Drewrey grew up in Denmark, Miss. and has four daughters, three of which graduated from Lafayette schools. His youngest, Alivia, is a senior at Lafayette. His daughter, Alex, is a kindergarten teacher at Lafayette.
“I have two grandchildren who currently attend school in the district,” he said, “with a third that will be there in a few short years. I will always be invested in Lafayette.”
Drewrey is currently employed by Winters Construction as a job superintendent. He has a master’s degree in school education and is a retired teacher, football coach and school administrator.