With her passion for education, Jennie Hensarling has a desire to be instrumental in helping the Lamar County School District’s administrators, teachers and families fulfill their potential in that field.
Now, the Sumrall resident will have the chance to do exactly that after being sworn in to the District E seat for the school district’s board of trustees during the board’s regular meeting on Jan. 11.
Hensarling takes over for former District E representative Buddy Morris, who announced in September that he would not run for a third term after serving on the board for 12 years.
“I feel that this is a tremendous responsibility, and I am honored that the voters of Lamar County put their faith in their trust in me,” said Hensarling, who defeated opponent Brady Rannes in the Nov. 3 general election with 67% of the vote. “I hope that I can execute the activities of this office with grace and dignity.”
District E serves residents in multiple school zones, including Baxterville, Purvis, Oak Grove and Sumrall.
Currently, Hensarling is looking forward to carrying on the day-to-day responsibilities of the position.
“I’m learning a tremendous amount already,” she said. “I think there’s a lot of things that the school board handles that your average person doesn’t even realize is handled by the school board.
“So, there’s definitely a learning curve, and (board member) Matt Mayo and I have done some training on what it really means to be a board member. I’m just excited to be the voice of the people.”
Hensarling, who is originally from Monticello, has been married to her husband Jay – a former Army Black Hawk pilot – for 18 years. The couple has three children: twin 16-year-old boys and an 8-year-old girl.
An English teacher, Hensarling has taught online for Troy University for more than 16 years.
She has also served on the PTO for Sumrall Elementary School for the past 11 years, where she has been able to help raise money for school initiatives.
Hensarling said being an educator for several years has helped her realize that all situations are not created equal, and she looks forward to working with the entire district on various issues.
“There are situations where we have to come alongside teachers, administrators, parents and students to give them a step up,” she said. “If we don’t have people that have children in the system, we don’t have people that are invested, then how can we be sure that we’re making the best decisions?
“I just really think that you need someone who’s talking to real people who are in the trenches, and we’ve definitely been in the trenches. If you see a need, you can fill a need, so if there’s a place where I can help and be influential, then I want to do that.”
The board, which meets monthly, has four other elected members.