Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 15

tailored to their passions as well as their skills.
The software is meant to help children and
teenagers make better decisions about what
they want to be when they grow up, instead
of just entering a four-year college with
no direction.
The Haralson County School District comprises four elementary schools, one middle and
one high school. In addition to the high school's
implementation of YouScience, the district
also maintains a partnership with nearby West
Georgia Technical College. Located in the city
of Waco, the college works with the schools
to train students and help them channel their
passions and their skills, rather than just funneling every child into a university.
Both of these programs, Poole explained,
are designed to steer students in the right
direction and avoid the typical model that
pushes people into universities.
"You hone in on people's ability. I think that's
imperative," he said. "Everybody can't go to
school to be a four-year college student."
The only other high school in the area,
which will also implement YouScience, is
managed by the city of Bremen. The majority of Bremen's land sits in Haralson County,
though a portion leaks past Carroll County's
border. City Manager Perry Hicks has been
with the city for 15 years, which means he
was a witness to the effects of the housing
crisis in 2008.
"It was a real shock to everyone," Hicks
said. "Those were some difficult times."
Nine years after the bubble popped, however, Hicks says the city is seeing an uptick
in housing. He believes one of the causes is
the recognition the city's school system has
earned in recent years.
"People want to bring their families here
and enroll their kids in a great school system,"
Hicks said.
The Bremen City School District is a separate entity from the county's school system,
and it is regularly ranked one of the best in
the state. Bremen schools boast a graduation
rate of over 95 percent and are consistently
placed among the top 10 districts in Georgia.
Serving Others through ACCG
During his tenure on the ACCG Board of
Managers, Poole has tried to stand up for his
fellow rural counties. This aligned with his
main goal since he was a child: helping people.
"I wanted to be that person to carry the
concerns and the need for the have-nots,"

Haralson County transitioned from being governed by a sole commissioner to
a full board of commissioners in 2005.
Poole said. "I wanted to be that connection,
from south rural Georgia to the mountains
up north."
While he always wanted to sit at the table
and be a voice for others, Poole says he
never expected God to place him at the head
of that table. He says he is embracing the
challenge, though, and is eager to address
one of his top concerns for rural counties in
Georgia: broadband access.
"The percentage of online shopping is
increasing every year, especially for the holidays," Poole said. "But if you don't have the
ability to connect to the internet, you're missing
out on that."
At a time when almost 90 percent of
Americans are online, according to the Pew
Research Center, Poole says rural counties
are facing a "digital divide." Urban and suburban counties-typically with higher population density and more tax revenue-enjoy
the advantages of online services and retail
shopping, as well as a connection to the
global economy.
"The rural counties are going to get left
behind," Poole argued.
The state legislature created a joint
study committee in 2016 on "High-Speed
Broadband Communications Access for all
Georgians." Members from both the Senate
and the House listened to testimony from
residents and representatives from organizations like the Georgia Hospital Association,
the University System of Georgia and several
local development authorities and chambers
of commerce.
Committee co-chairman Sen. Steve Gooch
introduced a bill in this year's legislative

session to address service delivery strategies, tax exemptions for deployment of
broadband technology and SPLOST proceeds,
among other concerns. While SB 232 did not
get much traction this session, Poole said
there will be hearings over the summer to
continue the discussion. He plans to add the
issue of broadband access to ACCG's priority
list in the fall, which will be presented to the
full Board of Managers.
Leading the Team
Poole thinks he is taking the reins of the
organization with a unique perspective. In
addition to his focus on giving smaller and
more rural counties a voice, he puts an
emphasis on those who work in the background and often go unnoticed as they ensure
everything runs smoothly.
"I mean the first person in the office that
turns on the lights, that cranks up the coffee
pot," he explained, "I want all those people
to be a part of who we are, a part of what
makes us ACCG."
He admitted that, without the support of
his office staff, he wouldn't be as successful
as he is in his role.
"No organization can be great without
good people," Poole said. "If it was not for
the staff, the Board of Managers and our
executive director, ACCG would be just
another organization."
■
Sierra Hubbard is a freelance writer and
Kennessaw State University student from
Paulding County. She previously worked as
an ACCG communications intern. Sierra can
be reached at sierrabhubbard@gmail.com.
SUMMER 2017 www.accg.org

15


http://www.accg.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - Summer 2017

President’s Message
Director’s Message
Haralson County: Location and Rural History Provide Opportunities for Success
Parks and Recreation: An Investment for Today and Tomorrow
ACCG and GDOT Dedicate Historical Marker
County Senior Services Help Residents Flourish and Thrive
UGA Extension Educates Communities through Partnerships with Parks and Recreation Departments, Senior Centers
Q & A with Deputy Commissioner Ben Hames: Counties and Workforce Development
County Health Departments Work to Improve Communities
From Wellness to Wellbeing: LGRMS Assists Counties with Providing Comprehensive Health Programs to Local Government Employees
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - Intro
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - cover1
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - cover2
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 3
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 4
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 5
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 6
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 7
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - President’s Message
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - Director’s Message
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 10
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 11
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - Haralson County: Location and Rural History Provide Opportunities for Success
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 13
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 14
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 15
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - Parks and Recreation: An Investment for Today and Tomorrow
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 17
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 18
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - ACCG and GDOT Dedicate Historical Marker
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - County Senior Services Help Residents Flourish and Thrive
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 21
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 22
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - UGA Extension Educates Communities through Partnerships with Parks and Recreation Departments, Senior Centers
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 24
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 25
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - Q & A with Deputy Commissioner Ben Hames: Counties and Workforce Development
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 27
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - County Health Departments Work to Improve Communities
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 29
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 30
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - From Wellness to Wellbeing: LGRMS Assists Counties with Providing Comprehensive Health Programs to Local Government Employees
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - 32
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - News & Notes
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - cover3
Georgia County Government - Summer 2017 - cover4
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