You have two kinds of people in the world. There are those who follow the trends of their peers and there are others who set trends by blazing their own trail.
When it comes to the exclusive club of elected administrators in the conventional education system, there is a limited pool of human capital that usually becomes qualified enough to serve their local or state Board of Trustees. Most of the candidates who ascend to such educational leadership positions have similar backgrounds.
They have served as public school principals, charter school co-founders, and others have worked as attorneys representing the school districts of their locality. However, homeschool educators, for the most part, are deemed unqualified to assume leadership roles within the framework of the conventional education system.
Those odds did not stop the determination of a Texas-based homeschool father, pastor, and pharmacist from achieving the unthinkable. Dr. Richard Watson (pictured) was homeschooling his children and working as a full-time pharmacist in 1983 when a member of the Texas State Board of Education suggested he run for a seat on that same elected body.
Dr. Watson was also the pastor of a church in Gorman, Texas at the time. When his friend on the State Board of Education suggested he run for office, Dr. Watson could not fathom running for the position let alone winning it. “I laughed out loud at the idea,” Dr. Watson recently told the Washington Times.
“I’m a homeschool dad. How is a homeschool dad going to get elected to the State Board of Education?” he continued.
Dr. Watson took the advice of his friend and entered the race. However, the ardent Christian leader and well-educated family man dealt with barriers on the campaign trail. During a speech he gave before a meeting held by a teacher’s group, a female school principal told him his candidacy was “a slap in the face to every teacher in the room.”
Despite the barrages of doubt and chastising that came from his naysayers, Dr. Watson won his seat on the Texas State Board of Education in a 1983 election. Though he is no longer in public office, Dr. Watson continues to be an advocate of home-based educators and Christian activists in his community.