Kim Cochran is preparing to transition off the Cherokee County School Board.
Cochran, 31, started her term in January 2009, but was defeated in the July Republican primary by northeast Cherokee resident Patsy Jordan.
Along with her service on the board, Cochran has been active in helping her husband Nate Cochran with his law practice in downtown Canton.
A former teacher and now a stay-at-home mother, Cochran and her husband have two sons, Noah, 5, and Jacob, 2, and they attend Cumming First United Methodist Church. They live in the Free Home community.
Cochran discussed with Patch her last four years on the school board.
1. How are you all feeling now in these last days of your tenure? Are residents reaching out to you to wish you good luck?
I have had many emails, comments, and calls from constituents in the past few months wishing me well and thanking me for my time on the Board. It has been wonderful to receive such positive feedback, especially because it was for work that helped kids.
2. What are some of the proudest moments you all have had during your terms?
Being a consistent, outspoken advocate for this very positive change in our system's offerings has been, in my opinion, my greatest accomplishment and probably also my most instrumental contribution as a local leader. As evidenced by our county's vote on the charter (school) amendment, this is a high priority for parents and our community for our students. Aside from that, I have sought to be in the last four years a conservative voice that can also provide the background of having taught. This has been especially important in decisions such as proposed millage rate increases and the vote regarding the location for Cherokee's high school graduations, which I supported remaining at Woodstock First Baptist Church.
3. Were there any moments that would be considered "trying times?" What were some of the hardest decisions you all have had to make?
In my time on the board, our greatest challenges have been a declining tax base and tax collections, which have presented enormous funding challenges, and working within the community to recognize the need for and create school options in our system. Though it was a turbulent time, the community's push for school choice was necessary to demonstrate to some in leadership that it is a local need and priority. Some of the notable results have been the creation of Cherokee County's first public charter school and the system's response, which was the establishment of the Academies Initiative within the Cherokee County School District.
4. How do you feel about the future direction of the school board now?
My hope is that the current understanding of the need for school options will lead to the further development of those choices, such as a high school STEM and an International Baccalaureate Academy in CCSD. Our students are in real need of increased vocational offerings, which has long been a major priority of mine. The Board continues to face challenges with funding and providing an education for our students that will let them compete in a world wide marketplace. I think the Academies and public charter represent the types of individualized educations that will be ever more important in the future. The system must continue to offer excellent traditional college prep coursework as well as meeting other needs. Remaining Board members have voiced support for a high school STEM, as has our local legislative delegation. I hope to see that developed collaboratively in the near future.
5. What are your plans for the near future? Any possibility of getting back into politics?
Going forward, I am excited about focusing my time on family and kids. I have also been asked to serve on boards for a number of educational organizations and committees, and I am considering them. I still have a passion to see kids educated well in our community and will continue to serve as I can to achieve that end.