By T. Scott Boatright
A desire to give back after seeing his four sons being well taught by the Lincoln Parish School System fueled Gregg Phillips’ motivation to run for a seat on the Lincoln Parish School Board.
And that run is unopposed as Phlllips will take over the District 8 seat that will be left by Lisa Best.
“All four of our sons went through the Lincoln Parish School system, and we absolutely loved the education that our kids got,” Phillips said. “We went through Hillcrest, A.E. Phillips, Ruston Junior High and then all of our kids went through Ruston High School.
“So we fell in love with the Lincoln Parish School system, and I have always had a passion – my wife, too – to help the teachers and support them in any way we can.”
Phillips and wife Andrea were married in 1990. After she finished college in 1991, the couple moved to Ruston, where her father headed a State Farm Agency that Gregg took over from J.E. Reeves — the same Ruston State Farm agency Phillips now heads.
“I wanted to get in with State Farm, so we moved to Ruston and my wife took a job with the Monroe newspaper and I took a job at Ruston State Bank,” Phillips said. “About a year later Andrea’s dad had an opening in his office and hired me to work with him. So I worked with him from 1991-94 in the same office I work in now.”
Phillips then worked as a State Farm claims representative in Baton Rouge from 1994-97 before relocating to Monroe for two years where he filed claims while training to be a State Farm agent.
When Phillips became an agent in 1999, his father-in-law retired and Phillips took over the agency on Aug. 1. Twenty-three years later he’s still there.
Over the years Phillips has been head of the Bearcat Booster Club, been involved with the Ruston Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce, and served as president of the Rotary Club.
“I’ve always been very involved in the public area, and one of the main capstones or connections we have in our community is our school system,” Phillips said. “I just want to do what I can to help our education system do all we can for the future.
“Life is changing at a rapid pace in our culture and society. Our teachers are under an incredible amount of stress. There’s such high demand on them, and we just need to support and encourage them while also providing and improving avenues of education for our students. (Lincoln Parish Schools Superintendent) Ricky Durrett has done a great job just as Mike Milstead did before him. I just want to do all I can to help continue that forward.”
Phillips said part of why he wants to be part of the LPSB is what he saw other young people experience as they graduated high school with his children.
“So many kids graduate and have no idea what they’re going to do with their lives,” Phillips said. “Unfortunately some of them think that if they don’t get a football scholarship, they don’t know what they’re going to do. So I want to know all I can to make sure those kids have a hope, so when they graduate they know they’re going to have a future.
“You see Ruston High graduates going to (Louisiana) Tech, Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas and all of these great schools. That school does a great job with those kids. But it’s the kids that just don’t know what they’re going to do after high school, and I just want to do all I can to help those kids.”
Phillips said a technical school tie-in with the school system is something he wants to improve.
“You see plumbers, welders, and all kinds of jobs — and those workers are making great money and truly making something of themselves — something important. I’d like to improve on that kind of training for those who need it and help them make connections with prospective employers before they actually graduate.”
Phillips said other than wanting to give back and helping improve what he feels is an already strong school system, he doesn’t have any kind of major agenda or platform to use when he takes his seat on the LPSB.
“I don’t have any big agenda,” Phillips said. “I’m excited about learning a lot. Because I don’t have an opponent, I have the opportunity over the next few months to talk with people like Lisa Best, who’s (LPSB) seat I’m taking over. She and I have spoken and we will continue to talk so she can fill me in on some of the things I need to know. I plan to talk to officials at the support office, too, and see what they have to offer me as far as things I need to know.
“All that I have as far as an agenda is doing all I can to take care of our students and give them a hope and a vision for their future — our future.”
To report an issue or typo with this article – CLICK HERE