The early bird may get the worm, but Guilford County Board of Education Member Byron Gladden hopes the early announcer gets the school board seat.
In what may be the earliest announcement in the history of Guilford County Board of Education races, on Monday, Dec. 31, Gladden announced his candidacy to reclaim his seat – in 2020.
“I am seeking reelection,” said Gladden, who added that he’s extremely excited about the current work of the board and he wants people to know that he’s entirely committed to carrying that work out over the long term. “The primary is in 2020 but I’ve thought about it a lot. I’m announcing now because I really want to be part of what you see in 2019.”
“I know it’s early,” he acknowledged when it was pointed out to him that it wasn’t even 2019 when he announced his candidacy for 2020. In his defense, 2020 presidential candidates are about to start coming out of the woodwork over the next few months.
Gladden is the school board’s District 7 representative. Some of the schools in his district include McNair Elementary, Peeler Elementary, Vandalia Elementary, Lincoln Academy, Hairston Middle and Dudley High.
The 33-year-old was born in Greensboro, grew up in Randolph County and is now a manager of a medical office. Gladden said he feels he has helped bring “accountability” to the school board. He was first elected in November 2016 and he said this week that he wants badly to carry on that work.
Gladden said that, before he arrived, the school board was having long meetings where board members talked a great deal about things that didn’t have anything to do with educating children.
“Now we’re focused more on outcomes for children,” he said, “I do take credit for that.”
He added that he has also been a strong backer of Guilford County School Superintendent Sharon Contreras and her bold initiatives.
“We empower her as a board,” Gladden said. “I am impressed with the work she has done and what she has delivered.”
He added that he has always tried to keep a countywide focus while doing his job.
“I represent all the schools, not just those in my district,” Gladden said.