Aishia Leverett is looking to bring a fresh perspective to the Richmond County Board of Education.
Despite being the youngest of the three candidates vying for the open District 5 seat, Ms. Leverett, 32, said she feels she has a wealth of experience involving schools and would work hard not only to represent her generation but also to listen to others.
"We can have a younger generation at the table but also pull from that wisdom at the table," she said.
It's Ms. Leverett's first run for political office, but she's no stranger to Richmond County schools.
Ms. Leverett, who works as a professional counselor with Leverett & Associates Counseling Service, taught a Pathways leadership development program last year at the Richmond County Alternative Center and teaches every month with the Augusta Community Education Emphasis group, which helps Richmond County students at risk of not graduating.
"Having taught formally and informally in a classroom, I can see the challenges the teachers are facing," she said, referring to larger class sizes this year.
Ms. Leverett said she also taught for a year in the Jefferson County school system, and she's on the steering committee for Youth Leadership Richmond County.
"I bring a different perspective to the table," she said.
Because of her counseling background, "I am accustomed to analyzing issues and coming up with a solution."
Ms. Leverett said she believes the biggest issue facing the school system is dropout prevention. She said school officials have been doing a good job lately in addressing the problem, "and I want to make sure that stays in the forefront."
The Augusta native and graduate of Lucy C. Laney High School said there should be no substitute for quality instruction time, despite past and looming state budget cuts.
"I just don't want it (budget cuts) to affect our instructional time," she said. "There are certainly other areas we can pull from."
BACK-GROUND: Profes-sional counselor with Leverett & Associates Counseling Service; executive director of the Pathways Leadership Development Program; counselor at St. Stephen's Ministry
LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE: Steering committee member for Youth Leadership Richmond County; committee member of America's Promise Alliance; board of directors member for Hope House
PLATFORM: Developing strategic community partnerships; improving communication among parents, teachers, administrators and Board of Education trustees; extending counseling to at-risk students; improving some schools' lagging test scores; more attention and resources for dropout prevention; better efforts to deal with truancy and improve the image of the school system