EDITORS NOTE: Now that we have published stories about the five candidates running for the District 2 seat of the Washington County Board of Education we will publish their stories online. The order will be as follows; Bob Cantler (Wednesday), Mary Beth Dellinger (Thursday), Todd Ganger (Friday), Phillip McLain (Saturday) and Vince Walters (Sunday). Each will appear in the Community News Section on the website.
By COLLIN BROOKS
Washington County Board of Education Chairman Todd Ganger worked intensely to get new Washington County Director of School’s Kimber Halliburton here; now he just hopes that he will be able to build on their relationship after the upcoming election on August 4.
Ganger has served as the board’s chairman for the past two years and, as such, was the point man when it came to negotiations between Halliburton and the school system.
“I am excited about the possibility of being able to work with Mrs. Halliburton,” Ganger said. “I went through that whole process and I really hope that I will be able to continue to serve four more years and be able to work with her.
“That is a huge thing right there. I put a lot of time and effort in bringing her here, I travelled to Nashville to visit with her, and we spent a good three to four hours going over the contract and negotiating and getting it together.”
That was one of the main responsibilities for Ganger, who has served on the board for eight years as chairman, and he and the board feel like they made the best decision with Halliburton.
A former youth baseball coach, Ganger works full-time at the Johnson City Power Board as a three phase meter-man. He got involved with the board when he had two children in the school system, but he has continued to serve on the board even after his kids graduated from high school and college.
The 1990 David Crockett graduate said he was thankful that his kids, Joe and LaRae, were able to get a solid education in Washington County and wants to make sure that other generations are able to receive the same or better level of instruction.
“My eyes were opened eight years ago on how kids learn today,” Ganger said. “When I was in school, you sat in your desk and you minded your business. Now kids, they learn in groups, with each other and with technology — it is even changing more.”
He said that he hopes to help the board and their director pick the best direction for the system in terms of technology, noting what a vital need it is to give kids the assets they need to do their best.
“It’s been eye opening for me, just to see how the learning process has changed, just over my eight years,” Ganger said. “I just want to be a part of the good things that are happening. I want to be a voice for the teachers and the students.”
During Ganger’s time as chairman, there have been big strides by the board and the Washington County commission to work more cohesively with the creation of the Health, Education and Welfare committee. The two groups aim to try and make the full commission completely aware of what the issues are with the schools.
“I feel like we have bridged the gap between the board and the county commission,” Ganger said. “I’ve really worked hard to do that as chairman, in working with the Health, Education and Welfare Committee of getting out there and letting them know the needs early.
“I am an advocate for the school system. If we need something, we are going to let the director know and she will let the commission know. And then it’s up to the commission to decide whether they are going to fund it.”
Ganger supports the new Boones Creek school and has voted for the Williams property during both site votes. He also said he hopes that the schools can build upon their Career and Technical Education programs.
He believes that his experience — which he admitted took him a little while to gain — will be valuable as the board makes important decisions in the near future.
“I feel like my experience is very warranted, because we are going through a tough time with the building process and the changing of the director,” Ganger said. “So I think having experience on the board will be very helpful.”