Superintendent Buddy Brown has announced his campaign to seek re-election to the office of superintendent of schools for Holmes County as a Republican candidate.

Brown is in the fourth year as a first-term superintendent.  

During this time, he said he has faced the challenges of keeping the schools open during the COVID era.  

“When he took office in November of 2020 less than 50% of all students had returned to brick-and-mortar schools,” a campaign announcement said. “By January of 2021, almost 80% of students had returned and by June 2021 the district was back at 95% of enrollment prior to the COVID pandemic. During this time, student and academic achievement remained at previous measurable levels and since that time has seen a continuing rise across the district.”

Holmes District Schools currently has four of their six schools rated a B, with one of the two remaining schools only a few points from that same designation.  

“While the district itself is rated a C based on changes to the state’s grading formula due to the directive issued by state board rule that only 75% of schools from the previous year could remain A or B, this forced Holmes School District into the C category–even though the district’s scores should have placed it into the B category,” his campaign announcement said. “They are one of three districts across the state that was affected by this change.”

Brown is a third generation educator.  His grandfather was a certified teacher dating back to the early 1900s and three of his aunts began their teaching careers in Holmes County.  

Brown currently resides on property homesteaded by his great grandparents in the Westville Community.  He attends Westville Baptist Church, where he is actively involved with the Church’s mission to spread the Gospel and teaches the adult Sunday school class.

Brown attended elementary school in Ponce de Leon and is a graduate of Holmes County High School.  He holds an AA degree from Chipola College, a bachelor’s from the University of West Florida, and a master’s in educational leadership from the University of West Florida.  

He currently holds a teaching certificate in Social Science grades 6-12 and in Principalship by the Florida Department of Education. He has completed and is certified in the Florida Superintendent’s Certification Program and completed the Developing Superior Leaders Program for the Florida Association of District School Superintendents.

Brown retired from the Florida Army National Guard with 20 years of honorable service in the 3rd Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, 53rd Infantry Brigade.  He rose through the ranks from a PFC to Captain where he held numerous leadership and staff positions to include seven years of command time at both the local National Guard unit and Headquarters Company in Panama City.  

He is a recipient of the Florida Distinguished Service Award and the Florida Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service while on state and federal active duty, along with other federal and state awards and medals.

Brown has worked as a substitute teacher in the Holmes School District and assistant coach in football and girl’s basketball at Holmes County High School until he was hired as a full-time teacher at Bonifay Middle School where he also became the football and basketball coach for the boy’s program.  

After a successful stint as teacher and coach, he would move into administration when he became the assistant principal at Ponce de Leon High School and serve two different times as principal of Ponce de Leon High School.  

He currently has 25 years of administrative experience at both the county and district level.  Nine of those years have been spent working at the district level, becoming familiar with the workings of the district in the areas of policy, personnel, school law, maintenance, transportation, insurance, funding, and the interactions of the district with the Department of Education and other school districts. 

He has spent the last four years establishing productive relationships with other districts, the Department of Education, the local legislative delegation, and business stakeholders. Through his efforts, the Holmes County Education Foundation was founded in 2020.

“During my term we have had many challenges and we have learned from those challenges.  We have seen forward progress in every area,” Brown said. “These past four years, we participated in the school accreditation process where for another five years this district would be fully accredited across the board at all schools.”

School district leaders are currently in the special facilities process to acquire funding for construction of a new K-12 school at the current PDLHS and PDLE site.  

“The early projections of monies we would receive from the state special facilities project program would be more than $50 million,” Brown said. “This is vitally important because our district is the second poorest in the state in terms of income and taxable values while we compete with a district to our west that is currently second in the state.”

“We generate about $29 of local tax revenue per capita, while our neighbors to the west generate $449 and our neighbors to the east and south generate from $10 to $120 more in taxable value,” Brown continued.

Brown said he intends to utilize his experience in guiding and improving the Holmes School District.  I

“I have had an open-door policy geared toward listening to the needs of students, parents, and employees of the Holmes School District,” he said. “The importance of developing and building a school district infrastructure that can adapt to the changing needs of the community and the laws established by the state and federal legislation is ever more apparent today”

Brown said his goal is to continue to work toward making the Holmes School District the “leader in student achievement within the Panhandle Educational Consortium and to move the school district into the top 25% in achievement throughout the state.”

“I believe and support the need for a strong academic learning environment balanced also with the traditional small school ideas of active student involvement in extracurricular activities to include service organizations, athletics, and the arts,” he said. “We have had tremendous success in these areas the past 4 years as illustrated by our student’s achievements at the state and national level.”

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