05/02/04 — Joe Hackett runs for school board

View Archive

Joe Hackett runs for school board

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 2, 2004 8:14 AM

Joseph Hackett, who ran for a seat on the school board two years ago, says the same problems exist today within the school system, prompting him to run again in the November election.

Hackett filed for the at-large seat on Friday. He is the first in Wayne County, so far in this year's election filing, to challenge an incumbent school board member. He will face Pete Gurley, the board's chairman. Others up for re-election are Shirley Sims and Thelma Smith.

Hackett, 39, is a probation and parole officer with the N.C. Department of Corrections and retired from the Marine Corps. He said he is running on the same platform that put him on the ballot two years ago in the District 6 school board race. He lost that election to Rick Pridgen.

"Basically the same issues during the last election are still here today," he said.

He said he stands for effective and efficient use of the classrooms to provide children with a quality education. Unfortunately, he said, some of the schools are not being used to their potential.

He said that he proposed having an independent study of the school system during his last campaign, but the board disagreed with the suggestion.

"Now they're embracing the idea," he said.

The study, he said, would point out the school system's strengths and weaknesses and in turn improve use of the buildings and curriculum while providing suggestions for more responsible money management.

"Right now, it appears that we want to just throw money at the problem and try to fix it," he said. "That's not going to be the answer."

He said financial responsibility will not only benefit the children but the entire community.

"My opponent is proposing a bond of $82 million that is going to result in an increase in taxes to our already economically strapped families," Hackett said.

"I'm for funding education as we need to fund it, but we need to do it in a responsible way that will benefit our children."

Hackett said he is a strong supporter of teachers and is concerned about the ones leaving the county schools and the profession. He said he is also opposed to the countywide open transfer policy.

"One of the things I'm definitely for is, if you live in a district, you go to school in that district," he said.

The need now, he says, is for the community to start working together.

"Our Board of Education members need to work with our commissioners and our commissioners work with our board members," he said.

"We also need to have more active parents on the board that have a vested interest in the school system. It's time to pass the torch on to the new generation."

Hackett has a criminal justice degree from Mount Olive College and a master's degree in administration from Central Michigan University.

He and wife Gena, a teacher at Goldsboro High School, have a 5-year-old daughter, Avery Jamison, a student at Meadow Lane Elementary School.

He is a member of Whitley Pentecostal Holiness Church, Goldsboro Masonic Lodge, Wayne County Shriner's Club, York Rite, and the N.C. Probation Parole Association.