Dan Seckinger (i)
Education: BME from Eastern Michigan University
Political Experience: 20 years on Gwinnett County Board of Education
Family: Married; Three children, three step-children and five grandchildren
Education: Registered/Licensed Occupational Therapist and Wellness Consultant
Occupation: Occupational Therapy degree from the Medical College of Georgia
Political Experience: None
Family: Two grown children
Education: Associates in arts, Gulf Coast Community College; bachelor of science, Florida State University; master of Science, Florida State; educational specialist, Florida Atlantic University; doctorate of education, Florida Atlantic University
Occupation: Federal law arbitrator
Political Experience: Superintendent, Osceola County (Fla.) Schools
Family: Married, four children
One of the longest-serving members of the Gwinnett County Board of Education is battling two challengers in this month’s primary election.
Dan Seckinger, 56, a construction business owner, has served on the Gwinnett School Board since 1995, tied for the second-longest tenure with Dr. Robert McClure, both behind Louise Radloff, who has served on the Board since 1973.
Seckinger is competing against Ileana McCaigue, 59, an occupational therapist and wellness consultant, and 68-year-old Leon T. Hobbs, a federal labor arbitrator who has served as a school district superintendent in Osceola County, Fla.
The candidates are competing to serve constituents in the areas that represent all or part of the Berkmar, Central Gwinnett, Collins Hill, Lanier, Mill Creek, Mountain View and North Gwinnett clusters.
Seckinger believes his “proven leadership” sets him apart from his opponents.
“I have a proven track record that has benefited my constituents and Gwinnett County for nearly 20 years,” Seckinger said. “But when I say it that way, it feels somewhat conceited, despite the fact that I’m keenly aware of just how blessed I am and how blessed we are here in Gwinnett. People are the heartbeat of any meaningful endeavor — and our people, across all spectrums, are second to none.”
Seckinger said his experience serving on the school board has allowed him to be aware of academic rigor and fiscal responsibility, two areas that top his list of goals.
“We have made amazing strides academically for all students and we have kept our financial house on track and stable,” Seckinger said. “And we have done this in the midst of ‘fad for a day’ academic debacles and financial collapse all around us. We live in a community that demands this kind of governance, and it has been my privilege to serve them for almost 20 years, so far, doing just that.”
Hobbs believes his experience is unmatched by his competitors as he’s spent 36 years in education as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, vocational director and superintendent.
As a superintendent in Osceola County (Fla.) Schools, Hobbs said he’s attended 378 school board meetings, and created the agenda and documents for 214 school board meetings.
Hobbs’ top goal is to reduce class sizes in kindergarten through third grade to improve academic, emotional and social growth for students.
“Until this strong academic foundation is created, our students will not be as academically ready for future grades as they deserve to be,” Hobbs said.
McCaigue also listed reducing class sizes in early elementary grades as her top goal. She also wants to generate more parent involvement, and believes cultural backgrounds and diversity should be appreciated.
“In the Gwinnett school system where the minorities are the majority, any elected official should also have an appreciation for the struggles that other cultures endure, as well as understand the significant challenge that educating children of multiple backgrounds brings, especially for teachers and support staff,” she said. “As a former parent with children in both the general and Special Education populations, I will be particularly sensitive to the diverse needs of all the children in Gwinnett schools, particularly for preparing them for a future vocation and/or to enter college.”