To say Louise Radloff is dedicated to her job as District V chairwoman is an understatement.
As a member of the Gwinnett Board of Educators for nearly 40 years, the equivalent of 10 terms, the Norcross resident goes to all the PTA meetings, attends many school events, and manages to have face time with parents and children at her 21 schools.
To top it off, she has never missed a school board meeting, even when she had a death in the family.
"I drove to Niagra Falls for the funeral," said Radloff, whose a native Canadian, "drove back to the board meeting, and turned around and drove back home. I just firmly believe [that if] you make a committment, you live up to it."
Radloff, who covers Norcross-area schools such as and , is running this year for her 11th term for the school board. After so many elections, one would think this time the process would become routine, and for the most part, it is.
There's only one exception: She's running as a democrat for the first time, a switch from her longtime republican platform.
, Radloff explained that even though her personal beliefs haven't change at all, the democratic party is better in tune with her convictions on education.
"I'm a firm believer for every kid, and I think there's richness in meeting the needs for every kid," she said, who's also said that she's never voted on a straight party ticket. "In order to do that, I say the position of the democratic party is much more in line with my thinking."
That persistence in helping students is the main reason why she's running for re-election, contrary to what she's said in the past. After her 40 years on the board, her passion for education is still strong, and she believes the "issues on the horizon are bigger than ever."
With duties such as hiring the superintendent to budgeting and appeal processes, Radloff has the mindset that a successful, stable leadership on the Gwinnett school board clearly drives the economics of the county.
"I just have a philosophy that if you make a committment to serve the public, you've got a responsibilty to do just what you've said: to be involved, to be knowledgeable about the issues, whether it's a parent issue or a public school issue [or] a teacher issue," she said. "When you build the budget, when you look at the strategic vision, you take all of those things into consideration."
Voting for the school board districts will take place Nov. 13, 2012 (second Tuesday of November). According to Joe Sorenson with Gwinnett County, the republican running against Radloff for District V is H.K. Dido. For more information, check out gwinnettcounty.com.
What do you think about Radloff switching from the republican to democratic party? Tell us in the comments.