Wednesday, Charlie Walker was sworn in as the District 7 representative on the Richmond County Board of Education. District 7 includes T. Harry Garrett Elementary, A. Brian Merry Elementary, John M. Tutt Middle, Warren Road Elementary, and Westside High Schools.

Walker won a special election to replace board member Frank Dolan, who resigned.

Walker comes from a business background, and he says he has a lot to catch up on when it comes to Richmond County Schools. He says that’s why he’s making it a priority to listen to his constituents. 

“I’ve been on a lot of boards, never one that I’ve had to go to a public vote for, but I think volunteering your time, especially in the community, makes a big difference,” Walker said.

He grew up attending schools in what is now his district, including Warren Road Elementary, Tutt Middle, and Westside High Schools. Now, he has two sons at schools in the district.

“I’ve seen the good things,” he said. “I’ve seen some of the things that the teachers and staff struggle with.”

Walker says he’s hoping to gain more perspective on the Richmond County School System upon joining the Board of Education.

“I can speak to what I experience in the schools that my students are in,” he said. “I can’t speak to what other parents may be experiencing in schools that they are in. Overall, I know that Richmond County has some schools that may be falling below the state guidelines as far as performance. One of the goals that I do know about the board of education in Richmond County is they are trying their best to bring those schools up above that benchmark.”

He says he’s going in to his new role with his eyes and ears open. 

“I’m going to be a big listener,” he said.

We asked him about an issue that’s been on the forefront of many parents’ minds after school shootings: security. 

“They need to put more security in school,” said Angel Waters, who has a child at Tutt Middle School.

Walker says he is open to looking at different options available for improving school security.

“I think if you put steps and measures in place…that at least you’re proactive, and not reactive to things that may happen. Those are the kind of things that I think the school system should be looking at,” he said.

Walker will be running again for his position in the regular election this Fall for a four year term.