School board member Joe Scott dies

Saturday, July 25, 2009 11:05 AM
Last updated Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010 9:00 PM
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Joe Scott, the often outspoken member of the Richmond County Board of Education, died in his sleep this morning.

Richmond County school board member Joe Scott.  File
File
Richmond County school board member Joe Scott.

Mr. Scott, 73, was pronounced dead at 9:11 a.m. at his home, said Richmond County Deputy Coroner Johnny McDonald. He died of natural causes and had suffered medical problems, Mr. McDonald said. He would not comment on the details of Mr. Scott’s health issues.

Serving his second term on the board representing District 5, Mr. Scott was known for fighting for what he believed in, willing to go it alone if need be. In November, he was re-elected to another four-year term by an overwhelming majority, garnering more than 74 percent of the vote. In his first term on the school board, Mr. Scott served two years as vice president.

Mr. Scott’s political experience also included time on the Augusta Aviation Commission and the Richmond County Coliseum Authority.

“He did those things he believed would benefit the community,” school board President Marion Barnes said Saturday. “He really believed in what he was doing.”

The two lifelong educators, who grew up together, butted heads at times, but he said Mr. Scott would never let those disagreements affect their friendship.

Mr. Barnes said Mr. Scott always set aside politics when it came to doing the work of the school board. They taught together, played football together and both graduated from Paine College.

Board member Eloise Curtis, who taught alongside Mr. Scott at Josey High School, described him as someone willing to dig up information, track down issues and ask tough questions.

“We are going to miss ole Joe,” she said.

Mr. Scott was a good-hearted person, who played point guard on the basketball team growing up, Ms. Curtis said.

Fellow board member Helen Minchew recalled a conference in Savannah when she had car trouble. Mr. Scott made sure she made it to a mechanic and stayed close by during the drive back to Augusta to ensure her car didn’t break down.

“He took time to make sure that I was taken care of and that I made it back safe to Augusta, Mrs. Minchew said. “He was really quite helpful.”

Mr. Scott always tried to do what was right, she said.

That drive, however, sometimes created friction among board members. Mr. Scott tirelessly pushed particular issues, unafraid to press sensitive subjects.

He continually questioned the need for separate Garrett and National Hills elementary schools, two small west Augusta schools less than a mile apart.

And he fought for more minority and women-owned businesses to get contracts with the school system.

Among his controversies while on the school board, Mr. Scott also took fellow board member Venus Cain to court. He sought to have her arrested, accusing her of threatening to beat him up during a closed-door meeting.

Mr. Scott joined the school board after retiring from the school system, where he worked as a teacher, assistant principal and principal at Levi White and Jenkins elementary schools.

During his campaigns, he frequently touted his goals of transparency, accountability and equity.

“I ran on transparency, accountability and equity, and I stuck to that,” Mr. Scott said on election night in November. “People know me and know what I stand for.”

Mr. Scott and board member Barbara Pulliam often held joint community gatherings and forums for their constituents. At some of the meetings, he brought members of the school board’s central offices into their districts to meet directly with the residents they represent.

And he was highly visible in the community.

“He always went to everything as for any community or school function,” Mrs. Minchew said. “He always seemed to take the time.”

In May 2008, he opened up about his life while speaking to students at Glenn Hills High School in hopes of encouraging them to rise above their circumstances and become successful.

“My mother died when I was 2. My father left me when I was 2,” Mr. Scott told the students. “I could have had any excuse to fail and not be anything and blame it on somebody else.

“You can’t let people tell you what you’re going to be and be it. They defeat you.”

Mr. Scott is survived by his wife, Patsy, and three sons. Mays Mortuary is handling funeral arrangements, which will be announced later.

-----

Filling the Vacancy:

The Richmond County Board of Elections will meet Monday to determine when Joe Scott’s seat on the school board can be filled, school board attorney Pete Fletcher said.

According to the school board’s charter, the election must be held on the next special election date, but no sooner than 50 days from the time the seat becomes vacant, Mr. Fletcher said. The next special election date is Sept. 15, but the 50-day deadline is close, which could push back an election to Nov. 3.

Mr. Scott’s term ends Dec. 31, 2012.

Comments (18) Add comment
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Whatthetruth
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Whatthetruth 07/25/09 - 11:23 am
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God Bless the family and God

God Bless the family and God Bless Joe Scott, A true educator who tried to listen to and help the students and sfaff of Richmond Co. My Heart goes out to his love ones. RCBOE lost a good man.

TheTruth
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TheTruth 07/25/09 - 11:34 am
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My heart goes out to his

My heart goes out to his family in their time of bereavement. Mr. Scott was a dedicated professional educator who loved children and the adults that taught them.

charliemanson
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charliemanson 07/25/09 - 12:59 pm
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Condolences to the family.

Condolences to the family.

jewel
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jewel 07/25/09 - 01:23 pm
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Much Sympathy Mrs. Scott

Much Sympathy Mrs. Scott

Just My Opinion
5202
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Just My Opinion 07/25/09 - 01:55 pm
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Yes, at least he did try to

Yes, at least he did try to give back to the community, and for that I am very grateful! God bless Mr. Scott and his family.

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 07/25/09 - 02:54 pm
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Mr. Scott listened to me and

Mr. Scott listened to me and treated me with respect. I won't forget that. My condolences to his family and friends. I will miss him, too.

The Ode
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The Ode 07/25/09 - 03:03 pm
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Richmond County may have had

Richmond County may have had a better school system if he would have focused more on education and less on using his position to influence the school board to issue contracts to black owned businesses based soley on race and not merit or economics.

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 07/25/09 - 03:27 pm
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This is not a time to be

This is not a time to be odious Ode.

luckey
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luckey 07/25/09 - 03:27 pm
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The Ode, Now is not the time!

The Ode,
Now is not the time!

larboy54
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larboy54 07/25/09 - 03:59 pm
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I may not have agreed with

I may not have agreed with Mr. Scott all the time but I respected him because he took the time to get involved. Blessed be his memory

Beverly Reeves
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Beverly Reeves 07/25/09 - 04:00 pm
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Patsy, my heart goes out to

Patsy, my heart goes out to you & I am sure you are devastated by your untimely loss. Joe will truly be missed! My condolences to you and your family. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers! I will be in touch. Beverly Reeves

DEVGRU
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DEVGRU 07/25/09 - 04:01 pm
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The Ode, what you need right

The Ode, what you need right now is a good beatdown for your lack of conscience at a time like this.

Tonyanisha
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Tonyanisha 07/25/09 - 07:18 pm
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I will most definitely miss

I will most definitely miss Mr. Scott as my assistant priniciple at Lucy C. Laney High School. I remember him yelling my full name over the innercomm on D-day (day you get detention for walking into school after the tardy bell). I made it inside the building on the minute fearing I was going to be late. No sooner than I sat down inside my homeroom class, I heard my full name "MEKA BROWN" as Mr. Scott never failed to call me. I thought I was in trouble. He waited until I got into the office and in front of Mrs Brown, a student counselor at the time (I thought I was in big trouble by then) who call me into her office to tell me that I am the Salutatorian for Class of 1994! I have still been honored to represent Laney since that day! Thanx Mr Scott for being real with us, loving us, and sticking up for us!

PianolizB
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PianolizB 07/25/09 - 08:56 pm
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My Deepest Sympathy to Mrs.

My Deepest Sympathy to Mrs. Scott and family

lylagirl
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lylagirl 07/25/09 - 09:39 pm
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It amazes me at how when

It amazes me at how when someone leaves life how people get so very sentimental (RCBOE members). Many of you did not like Mr.Scott's views on education and how he felt about how things were being handled with the school system. This man had a genuine heart and he truly had our best interest at heart. Some board members including the Super had no problem belittling him in board meetings. Those of you and you know who you are need to GET REAL...we have lost the only advocate for our teachers and children. It is all downhill now... RIP Mr. Scott...Job well done!

Rozzie2003
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Rozzie2003 07/25/09 - 09:44 pm
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My deeperst sympathhy to

My deeperst sympathhy to Patsy and the boys. Joe had a great family and they loved him dearly.

BlackJack7
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BlackJack7 07/25/09 - 11:54 pm
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True heartbreak here in

True heartbreak here in Atlanta over Mr. Scotts passing. He was very involved in my life as a teen and as an adult. He was my science teacher at Josey. I was his assistant my 11th grade year. He was my track coach. After high school he became like a surrogate uncle to me, I attended Morehouse with his two oldest sons. We served on the CSRA Classic board of directors together just 10 years ago. Ms. Patsy became one of my multitude of mothers. My heart goes out to her, Marlon, Merwyn and Patrick. This is just one of the perils of life we must go through. I encourage ALL TEACHERS reading this to remember that all you give your students are not going unappreciated by all. Just as Mr. Scott gave his life taking on a thankless job as an educator, the very ones who you may think may not appreciate what you have done for them are singing praises for your love, care and words of encouragement. Stay strong Scott family, colleagues, former students and all who knew and loved Mr. Scott.

jduk22
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jduk22 07/26/09 - 01:22 am
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South Augusta lost a strong

South Augusta lost a strong supporter and fighter for education. I met Mr. and Mrs. Scott last year and developed a great relationship with Mr. Scott. I pray that his replacement will be able to fill his shoes.
THANKS FOR YOUR CAREER SERVICE!
GOD SPEED!

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