By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Four candidates were on the Republican ballot in South Alabama’s State School Board District One and none of them got the 50 percent plus one of the votes to win the position so District One Republican voters will decide the race in an April 12 runoff. Recently appointed incumbent Matthew Brown will face Jackie Zeigler in the runoff. The district includes Mobile, Baldwin, Escambia, Conecuh, Butler, Crenshaw and Covington Counties.
Adam Bourne finished with 23.16 percent of the votes (20,870 votes). Matthew Brown had 26.35 percent (23,744 votes). Carl Myrick had 13.70 percent (12,349 votes). Jackie Zeigler had 36.79 percent of the vote (33,152).
Jackie Zeigler said in a statement, “Thank you for your support that enabled us to win a plurality in the first primary. Please help spread the word as we go to the polls again April 12th for the runoff.”
Matthew Brown said that while they were hopeful for an outright victory, we have also laid the groundwork to win a run-off. “We are content with whatever the results because we rest in the knowledge that God’s ways are perfect.”
Matthew Brown was appointed by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) to the vacant District One seat in July.
Matthew Brown said in a statement, “Education is the great stepping stone which enables young people to achieve success in our society. I am humbled and honored to have this opportunity to invest in the future of Alabama’s children.”
Brown said in a statement that as the District 1 State Board of Education member, he has focused on supporting stronger families, encouraging robust workforce development through career-technical programs, and advocating for the accountable and transparent use of tax payer dollars.
Brown said that he, “Believes that strong families are the key ingredient to strong schools. When strong families are the norm, strong communities and schools are the natural result.” “Every time I cast my vote regarding a particularly policy or program before the State Board of Education I will always ask this question: Does this policy or program enable and empower parents to be more engaged and involved in their child’s education?” Brown wrote that he, “Also believes that workforce development should be one of the top priorities of the education community.”
Brown is a graduate of the Pensacola Christian College and is a 2011 graduate of the Cumberland Law School. Brown is a member of the Baldwin County Young Republicans and works as the Design Engineer for the Baldwin County Highway Department. Brown was the founder and Chairman of the group: ‘Educate Baldwin Now’ which despite being massively outspent successfully defeated massive property tax increases advocated by the Baldwin County School Board. Matthew and his wife, Sarah, have two children.
Jackie Zeigler is educator who says she will push a “back-to-basics” approach. “We need teaching to the individual needs of the student, not teaching to the test,” she said. “We need less paperwork, less busy work, and more classroom instruction.”
Mrs. Zeigler is retired after 14 years as principal at award-winning Mary B. Austin Elementary School in Mobile. Her school won the National Blue Ribbon Award of Excellence. “We had less money but got better results,” she said. “We did that by parental involvement, discipline, and old-fashioned hands-on teaching.”
Jackie Zeigler has 37 years of experience as a teacher and principal. She describes herself as: Christian, Constitutional, Conservative, Church worker, and Common-sensical. Mrs. Zeigler worked as the principal of Mary B. Austin Elementary School; teacher and acting Principal at Dauphin Island’s “Little Red School House” when the Dauphin Island Bridge was out due to Hurricane Frederick; the Title One coordinator at Maryvale Elementary in the Birdville area of Dauphin Island Parkway; Assistant principal of O’Rourke Elementary in west Mobile; and served for four years as adjunct professor of education at Springhill College. Mrs. Zeigler has a BS and MA in elementary education with an Administration/Supervision certificate from the University of South Alabama.
Mrs. Zeigler is married to Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R). They have two children.
The Republican runoff will be on April 12.
The eventual Republican nominee will face Democrat Ronald Davis in the November General Election.