The Starkville Board of Aldermen selected Wes Gordon on Tuesday night to serve on the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Board of Trustees.
Gordon was selected over two other candidates, Mississippi State University College of Education associate professor Ryan Walker and Renasant Bank Starkville Market President Donna Sims. After all three candidates were interviewed by the aldermen, Gordon was selected by a 4-1 vote with Ward 5 Alderman Hamp Beatty against, Ward 3 Alderman David Little absent and Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker recused.
Gordon has not yet been sworn in, and will serve until March 2020. He will finish out the term of longtime school board member Lee Brand, who stepped down this month to take a job in Tennessee after more than nine years on the board.
The SDN caught up with Gordon to discuss his plans for his time on the board.
Q: What are your thoughts on being selected for the board seat?
A: “I appreciate the Board of Aldermen’s confidence. You know, my family goes to the public schools, and we’re involved, and now we’re going to be a little more involved, I guess.”
Q: What is your background?
A: “I grew up in Columbus and went to Columbus High School. I came to Mississippi State, and graduated in kinesiology for my undergraduate and sports administration for my graduate. I went to the University of West Alabama, and was assistant athletic director for a couple of years, and that’s how I got into fundraising. I was the director of development for the UWA Foundation, and came back to Mississippi State in 2010, where I was a development officer and fundraiser for student affairs, and now I’ve done planned giving for the MSU Foundation for about the last three years. I’m married to Meaghan Gordon, she’s from Carthage. We have four kids Mary Reeves, 11, Murphy, 8, Max, 6, and Mamie, 5. She’ll be going to Sudduth this fall.”
Q: What are your hopes for your time on the board?
A: “Just to help out where I can and be a team player, you know. If we can elevate school district, obviously that’s the main goal. I think we have a really, really strong public school system, but no matter how good you are, I think you can always improve. Maximizing the funds we already have, that’s the biggest question for me. Let’s look at this budget, and let’s put as many dollars in the classroom and toward the kids as we possibly can.”
Q: Are there any plans, ideas or issues that you hope to bring to light on the board?
A: “Let’s get in there. Let’s figure out what we do great at, and what we’re not good at, and let’s make them all better. I don’t want to jump into one thing and say we’ve got to change this, or change that. Let me get in here and look and see where I can help, first off, and what needs the help.
Q: Is there anything you would like to say to those you will represent?
A: “I have four kids. They’re all different academic levels. They’re all different races, so I hope that everybody here in Starkville feels like they can call me. I might not have an answer, but I can try to get an answer and be a sounding board for parents and students. A lot of time we talk about the parents, but if a student needs something, I‘d like to talk to them too. They’re the ones in the classroom, them and the teachers. Just know that we’re all busy. I have four kids, but I can always take an email or a text or a phone call. I might not be able to fix it immediately, but I’ll be there to listen and try to help. I’m essentially a sounding board for all citizens of all ages in Starkville, Mississippi.”
Q: Will this be your first time in public office?
A: “Yeah, actually it is. It’s something I thought I’d never do. I still don’t like to call it public office”
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: “I knew Lee Brand, and I appreciate everything that he did. He was on there for like 10 years. That’s a long time. I was able to coach his kids in recreational sports through the Sportsplex and through baseball. I got to hear him speak numerous times. He’s a great person, and I wish him and his family the best in Memphis. I hate that we’re losing him as a citizen of Starkville, because he’s one of the people who makes a place better, so good luck to him.”