SPRINGFIELD -- Robert Grant wants to keep his hands on the wheel of Effingham County's sturdy but rapidly expanding educational ship.
On Thursday, Grant told the Effingham Herald that he is seeking a second term as the District 1 representative on the Effingham County Board of Education.
"My heart is definitely in this school system," he said. "I feel like I have been a great advocate for our students and the parents who have contacted me with issues."
Effingham County schools rank near the top of Georgia's best when it comes to student achievement and financial accountability.
""In my full-time job, I get to travel around the state and I visit schools all over," Grant said. "I always come back home thinking, 'We are so blessed her to have such a great system.' I really, truly believe that."
The local schools were constantly lauded by state leaders, including Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp, during Effingham Day at the Capitol on Jan. 22.
"When you hear those people so congratulatory about what we are doing here, it's really amazing," Grant said.
Grant, who works for Junior Achievement of Georgia, an organization that teachers financial responsibility to students, surmised that keeping Effingham County schools floating near the top will require just as much work as getting them there.
"I think that consistency is definitely number one," he said. "How do we maintain a consistent excellent education through the growth? I've been through the last couple of (board of education) meetings and growth is definitely an issue as far as what we are going to do moving foward."
Grant said Effingham County sports the 33rd largest out of the state's 181 school systems.
"That's kind of an unknown stat," he said. "Sometimes we think of ourselves as sleepy little Effingham but that stat kind of puts things in perspective. There are 10, 11 or 12 counties that make up the metro Atlanta area and then you have the Macon, Augusta, Columbus and Brunswick areas.
"We are right there as far as the size goes and we are only going to keep getting bigger. We've got to manage our excellence as we grow, and, I guess, that is kind of my vision."
Grant appreciates the consternation some parents have about the ongoing school rezoing process in the county. New lines are being drawn to spread the number of students across the system more evently.
"Nobody wants to talk about redustricting but I think we are going to use a common-sense approach to school choice and allow some flexibility there," he said. "This, too, shall pass. We are going to get through it and, very soon, we will have to start talking about where we are going to build new schools.
"I'm ready to work with the people of Effingham and chart that path."
The election qualifying period is March 5-9.