At the Jan. 16 Board of Education meeting, Dent was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Donnie Tipton. Board of Education Chairperson Danny Chisholm said the decision was not an easy one, given the quality of the applicants, but that as a former educator, Dent could provide a unique point of view not represented on the board.
“I thought Steve’s perspective as an educator could provide insight into the decisions that we make,” Chisholm said. “And personally, years ago when he coached and I heard him talk to the kids – his love of the kids is unquestionable. His first concern will always be for the kids, and I think that’s the number one reason why he chose to apply to be on the school board.”
Current Superintendent Terry Price, who began his teaching career in Henry County Public Schools, remembers working with Dent.
“When I was a teacher in Henry County we taught on the same team and his love of kids and what was best for them was evident daily,” Price said.
Dent admits that what he misses the most from being in the classroom every day is his interaction with students. He began his career with Henry County Public Schools in 1977 and taught a variety of science classes at both the middle and high school, including Life Science, General Science, Earth Science, Biology, Honors Biology, and Anatomy and Physiology. He also served the district as an instructional coach, principal, golf coach and softball coach. He even subbed as bus driver from time to time.
In his application to the board, Dent emphasized the importance of supporting the growth and development of students, faculty and staff throughout the district.
“A strong public school system benefits the community in several ways. First, it provides positive academic opportunities for all students in our district. Second, an educated student population translates into economic growth for the entire community,” Dent wrote in his application. “Third, a strong and health school system is a point of pride for everyone. Finally, a strong school system is an investment in our community’s future.”
Dent stated that the most important goal for his time as a Board of Education member would be to “increase the academic growth of all students in our school system.” He said he hopes his experience, knowledge and insight as a retired educator of HCPS would be of benefit to the Board.
“I believe that Mr. Dent will truly be an asset to our existing board in moving Henry County Schools forward,” Price said. “Myself and the board welcome him and look forward to his contributions.”
Dent will be sworn in as a Henry County Board of Education member at the February meeting. He will fill Tipton’s remaining term that expires Jan. 1, 2021. Should be choose to, Dent will need to run for election to the seat on the November 2020 ballot to remain on the Board.
“We think we made an excellent choice with Steve, but they were all good applicants,” Chisholm said. “I hope Steve runs, but I would encourage the other applicants, if they truly want to serve the school district, to run in November and their constituents can decide who they want for the position.”