School board candidates offer varying talents: Sexton learned duty in military

It seems that duty doesn't come hard to Abraham Sexton, especially after more than 26 years in the military.

Now Sexton, 64, wants to fulfill another duty - to the children of Barnwell 45 school district.
That's why he is running for school board.

One seat - now occupied by Jeff Still - is open on the five-member board. Still decided not to seek another term. The election is April 14.

"My main purpose is to see where I can help these children," Sexton said.

Children are what the district should be built around, he said.

"It's like the foundation of a house - if you've got a good foundation, the building will hold," Sexton said.

Sexton entered the Army in December 1971. The Vietnam conflict was still boiling and the Army had orders for him to go there, he said.

However, at the last minute, the orders were changed and he was transferred to a training school, then to Germany, Sexton said.

By then the threat of Vietnam had diminished and Sexton was transferred to the National Guard on a full-time basis. Here he trained all the fresh recruits on the military's computer systems and handled other duties. Sexton also did some data processing, programming and analysis work.

"God has looked after me and seen me without harm or danger. Now I feel like I need to give back," he said.

Sexton retired as a sergeant major or E-9, the highest enlisted rank classification in the Army. At one point in his Army career, Sexton was responsible for $2 million worth of equipment, he said.

Sexton is no stranger to the district, especially Guinyard-Butler Middle School, where he worked with special needs students, he said.

Sexton also drove a school bus for seven years.

Bus safety is one of the concerns Sexton would like to address if elected to the board. There aren't enough cameras on the buses. While most buses have a video camera mounted in the front interior for the driver to see the children behind him, a second camera needs to be placed in the back of the bus to monitor for any misbehaviors, he said.

Sexton said he would like to see more resources made available for the district and more parent involvement with their children's education.

"We've got to get parents involved with their children, then it won't be so hard on our teachers," he said. "My focus is on the children of the school system. I would like to see better resources for the district."

Sexton is married to Susie Sexton, a retired Barnwell school teacher who has 34 years teaching experience. They have three grown children, one of whom - Rachelle Sexton - was a fifth grade teacher in the district.

"Every child should have the privilege of learning and exceed not only in the classroom but in life. We just want them prepared," Sexton said.