Editor’s note: This is the first story profiling candidates for two seats on the Oktibbeha County School District Board of Trustees in Tuesday’s general election. The Daily News staff is working to contact other candidates in the school board races to be profiled and will publish those stories as soon as interviews occur.
The race for the Oktibbeha County School District Board of Trustees member at-large seat lies within two choices.
Current board member at-large Yvette Rice has served on the board for the last five years, and is running to serve her second term as member at-large.
“The thing that first spiked my interest in joining the school board of Oktibbeha County School District was the special concern that I have for the children of the Oktibbeha County School District receiving the best education possible,” Rice explained.
“Taking into consideration the high stakes that are set by the Mississippi State Department of Education, as well as the United States Department of Education, and being an alumna of the district, I felt that I most certainly have a lot to offer in the area of education.”
Rice, a native of Oktibbeha County, graduated from F.O. Alexander High School, which today is East Oktibbeha County Elementary School.
After graduating, Rice attended Mary Holmes Community College, where she majored in psychology. She then attended Mississippi State University, earning a bachelor of science degree in interdisciplinary studies.
“Later in life, with and urge to broaden my horizons in education, I decided to enroll in graduate school at MSU earning a master of science degree in special education and emotional behavior disorders,” Rice said.
Rice has worked as teacher assistant for the Starkville School District, a teacher at Creative Learning Center at First Baptist Church, a teacher at ICS Headstart Program, a program manager for Family-Centered Programs, a case manager for severely emotionally disturbed children, a special education teacher for the Lowndes County School District and is currently a behavioral therapist for Community Counseling Services. She also fosters two children who attend elementary school in the OCSD.
“My educational training speaks volumes when it comes to my level of expertise in the field of education and the ability to make sound decisions for the children of Oktibbeha County School District,” Rice said.
“The job of the board is to make policies and ensure that these policies are being followed by administrative staff, teachers, janitors, bus drivers, Counselors, cafeteria employees, principals, secretaries, parents and students alike.”
Rice’s goal for the OCSD is the same as set forth by the state Education Department: That all students will score proficient on the state test by 2014. She hopes to reach this goal by ensuring that the district administrators provide necessary training to all staff, she said.
The youngest of 10 siblings, Rice grew up knowing the importance of a good education.
“While growing up, my parents always stressed the importance of education,” she said. “Both my parents would often tell the story of how they were not privileged to attend school on a regular basis because of field chores and other circumstances that were beyond their control. Therefore, the education of their children became a main priority.”
Rice has adopted her parents’ stance on education, and hopes, with the help of the community, to continue to serve the children of Oktibbeha County, she said. Rice is running against Melvin Harris. The election is this Tuesday.