After applying for three consecutive years, local businessman and U.S. Army veteran John Gladden has been selected to join the Albertville City Schools Board of Education. He said he hopes to have a positive impact on the school system and foster an environment where each student can achieve their aspirations.

“The last three years, the board’s been awesome,” Gladden said. “They’ve laid a great foundation, and I just wanted to be a part of that... My hope is that when I step off, whenever that may be, that we leave things greater than when you came aboard… I wanted to be a part of something special … to give back to a community that’s given me so much.”

As a former teacher, coach and parent with three kids of his own in Albertville’s school system, Gladden said he understands the challenges educators face every day and also shares the same concerns any parent would for their child. With 12 years serving in the U.S. Army and eight years teaching, he said he had the right skills and experience to address those concerns and make quality decisions in the best interests of the students and teachers.

“Every student is special in their own right, so we got to … foster the hopes and dreams of every kid no matter what level they are,” Gladden said. “I understand about discipline and how a disciplined environment breeds an opportunity for a child to be able to blossom. We want to give kids an opportunity to be able to shine. Wherever that kid may be, whether that be at the top of his class or anywhere in between, I want that kid to know at Albertville City Schools that when they graduate from high school that we’ve prepared them for whatever endeavor that they want to go to.”

As a Friday night football commentator for the Aggies, many people may be familiar with Gladden’s voice on the radio, where he goes by the nickname “Big John.” Attending and commenting on the games has given him another opportunity to rub elbows with local school officials and educators allowing him to further understand the many layers within the school system and to see how different departments and people work together like “spokes in a wheel”, he said.

“Coming from my background in business, I’m a big picture guy,” Gladden said. “I want to look at all of those ‘spokes’ and how they work together.

“I just want to be able to help everybody,” he continued. “If you need something, I want to be able to help you… Every decision that I want to make on the school board, the center of that decision will be the students. If we come at it from a place in the heart where it’s all about the students, then I think you’re doing the school system justice.”

Gladden asked to give special thanks to the Albertville City Council, Superintendent Boyd English, Angie Croft and the members of the school board for giving him this opportunity.

“When I was in the military and we had a mission, we’d follow that mission,” he said. “Albertville City Schools has a mission statement. We will follow that mission statement.”

Look for Gladden to continue the “Albertville Advantage: A Superior Education Today - Tomorrow - Together” when he officially joins the board in June.

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