Tifton Gazette

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February 13, 2008

Shawn Utley seeking BOE chairmanship

TIFTON — The vice president of satellite operations for Moultrie Technical College announced Wednesday that he will seek the post of chairman of the Tift County Board of Education. Dr. Shawn Utley joins former BOE Chairman Richard Golden so far in the at-large race that all Tift County voters will decide in the fall.

Utley said his election would mean a continuation of his involvement with the school system. He and his wife, Melisa, have two children who attend Tift County public schools.

“I see it (his election) as another opportunity to serve my community,” Utley said. “We are very fortunate to live in a community with so many educational opportunities and such great people to lead them.”

Utley graduated from Tift County High School in 1985 and went on to graduate from Valdosta State University in 1989. He began his professional career as a teacher and coach at Coffee County High School and in 1997, became an assistant principal at Turner County Middle School. In 1999, Utley was named principal of Turner County Elementary School and served in that capacity until June 2004, when he returned to Tifton as the vice president of operations for MTC.

Utley said “sometimes change can be a good thing,” but that he believes that many of the right people and “processes” with the BOE are already in place.

“If you have the right people and processes in place, which I believe we do, support for what you have can be even more powerful than change,” Utley said. “I hope that through being elected to serve the county as a member of the Tift County Board of Education, I can use my education and experience to lend support to the great people who work here and the great things they are doing to educate the children of Tift County.”

Local businessman Tommy Cottle is serving as the chairman of Utley’s campaign committee and Dr. Frank McGill as the committee’s treasurer.

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