State of Georgia
Meet Elaine Padgett, running for school board in Forsyth County, Georgia’s 5th district
Within this district lies Forsyth County, Georgia. Elaine has lived in this county for the past 20 years and she has seen it go through some significant changes. Elaine told us that while this area is one with a dark history, they have seen positive change happening slowly but surely. The diversity of the population in Forsyth County has increased and much of that is due to their great school system. Their school system is ranked 3rd in the state! Elaine told us that these schools have drawn in many different types of people to this county. We learned that there are around 126 different countries and 64 languages represented within this district alone.
Elaine is a mother and entrepreneur with a Nursing degree and an MBA in Finance. Her three children have all been raised and educated within this school system and because of how much they thrived, Elaine has realized just how important it is to protect these schools. A few years ago, Elaine and her husband decided to shift their focus away from business building and towards making sure that their district’s schools are properly funded and taken care of. When Elaine and her husband began attending school board meetings, they were alarmed by things like book bans that limited the types of information students could learn about. This is why they decided to go all in and dedicate their time to preserving this public school system.
Something we learned from Elaine is that her county is mostly Republican and there usually aren’t any Democrats running for these types of positions. She is a strong believer in funding education and does not believe that politics should have such a huge influence on education decisions. She views public education as the great equalizer and believes every child should have access to a quality education to give them the best chance at success! For Elaine, running as a Democrat is an uphill battle as she says many people will discount her just because of her party affiliation. Despite this, she is still confidently canvassing, sending out letters and starting positive conversations with her community members.
Elaine wants to see the schools in Forsyth County reflect the diversity of the community members. Her goal is to make every student feel welcome, no matter what background they come from. Another one of her goals is to bring more talks of diversity and inclusion into the school board and in turn, into the schools. Elaine believes that the more young students are introduced to different cultures and ways of life, the more open minded their worldview will be as they grow up. Bringing more cultural sensitivity is important to Elaine as well. While her community becomes more diverse, she hopes that her schools will benefit from the different perspectives that this diversity brings.
While Georgia is turning into a purple state, it does still have a harsh past with racism and discrimination. Elaine wants people to know that there are great changes happening across her state and within her county. She sees her community becoming more educated, welcoming, and understanding. She feels very encouraged when she goes out and talks to other community members about these changes as well. If Elaine is elected, she will be the first Democrat elected in her county. She is ready to represent the people around her on the school board and help students thrive.
Outside of canvassing, Elaine is an avid reader and loves joining book clubs! It got her through the pandemic when social interactions were very limited. She also spends her time working with her son on his robotics projects and hanging out with the family’s rescue dog, Lexie.