MADISON FORWARD CO-CHAIR
Connie Cox Spears
Connie Spears recently retired from the City of Madison Board of Education. Mrs. Spears was appointed to the Board of Education in 2009. She served on the district's Capital Planning, Safety and Security, Policy, Community Relations, and Advocacy, Curriculum and Instruction and Finance Committees. Mrs. Spears also served as the board’s Legislative Liaison, advocating for children in both Montgomery and Washington, DC. She has a degree in Business Administration: Business Management from Auburn University and is a full-time community volunteer. Mrs. Spears has been a part of the Madison Community since 1984. She is a charter member of Asbury United Methodist Church. Mrs. Spears and her husband, Richard, have two sons. Their older son, Ross, is a graduate of Bob Jones High School & Auburn University and is working as a Software Engineer at SAIC and their younger son, Riley, graduated from James Clemens High School and attends Calhoun Community College.
I support the schools, because my family moved to Madison so that our children could attend Madison schools. We moved to Madison in 1997, when my older son entered Kindergarten. Even before Madison schools became Madison City Schools, they were where we wanted our children. Our sons have attended West Madison, Heritage, Columbia, Liberty, Bob Jones and James Clemens. Our family can truly say that it does not matter where you live in Madison, your children will attend great schools. In order to maintain the equity that Madison City Schools has achieved, we must support our schools by voting YES for the school tax. Overcrowding in Madison City Schools is real and is getting worse. Our enrollment has grown more than 600 students, since the end of the 2018-2019 school year. That's only grades 1-12, we don't have the kindergarten numbers, yet. This is growth like we have never seen, causing challenges like we have never faced. I trust that our citizens will do what is right for our children because, without this tax, the best days for Madison City Schools will be in the past.
MADISON FORWARD CO-CHAIR
Jeff Showalter currently serves as the Chief Development Officer & General Counsel for JHNA, a high growth government contracting firm focused on science & technology engineering services for current and future weapons systems, aviation & robotic systems & emerging technologies.
Jeff has more than twenty years of professional service advising non-profits, start-ups, emerging growth companies, technology companies and government contractors and those who invest in such companies on overall strategy, fund-raising activities and related investment strategies, contracting and intellectual property-capture processes, organizational structure, corporate governance, corporate compliance, business development, human resources and all facets of commercial transactions and mergers and acquisitions.
His work as an organizational leader, lawyer, investor, and business consultant roles enables him to work successfully with a wide array of stakeholders—to include owners, investors, employees, and shareholders. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served five years in the Army. Degrees include a Bachelor of Science in Management from the U.S. Military Academy, a Master of Business Administration from the University of South Carolina and a Juris Doctorate from the George Washington University Law School.
He is a member, director or advisor to multiple organizations devoted to veterans’ issues and education.
When our family relocated here, buying a house in a top-performing school district was a priority. This tax is needed to ensure the continued quality and success of our schools. The average cost to families of the proposed tax increase will be $30 per month, and every penny of it will go directly to the schools. I would pay a lot more than that to maintain the quality of our schools—the bedrocks of this special community. Even in this state, which has relatively low taxes, every other top performing district still pays much more in taxes than Madison, even after the proposed increase. It is imperative we maintain excellence as our school system grows.