Phillip Beard Bio
Board of Education chairman, Phillip Beard, was born in the city of Buford in 1940. At the age of 19 years old, Mr. Beard became a Buford businessman when he bought the local dry-cleaning plant (Model Cleaners) while he was studying at Georgia Tech. His entrepreneurial spirit was sparked by turning a profit on this investment in less than a year. One of the greatest gifts he received from growing up in Buford was meeting, and later marrying, his high school sweetheart, Sylvia. Both graduated from Buford High School, Phillip in 1958 and Sylvia in 1960. After high school Sylvia graduated from Brenau University with a degree in music (piano). Phillip spent two years at Georgia Tech before transferring to the University of Georgia for two years. He studied engineering and political science.
Mr. Beard was elected to the City Commission in August of 1975. He was elected Chairman by the other Commissioners in 1979. This also by City Charter and Georgia Law made him Chairman of the School Board. The Commission rotated the Chairmanship until the early or mid 1990s. Mr. Beard has been elected Chairman each year since. Mr. Beard was elected Commissioner at a time when the city of Buford was struggling financially. He used his experience as a successful businessman to begin to mend the city’s fiscal shortcomings. Not long after getting elected the City Commission decided to disband the entire Buford Police force and give those responsibilities to Gwinnett County to focus those resources on the needs of the Buford City Schools. That decision began an era where the schools were the top priority for the city. When Mr. Beard took office the school budget was $310,000 and now that same budget reaches almost $60 million.
During his tenure as the Chairman of the School Board, Mr. Beard, along with the help of an excellent School Board, has overseen the hiring of several superintendents. The School Board has challenged each new superintendent to take our school system to the next level. When asked what he feels his greatest responsibility is as the school board chairman he replied, “I work to make sure we have the funding to give our students the best facilities and educators possible.” There have been six schools opened in the last 44 years Mr. Beard has been in office. His fiscal ingenuity has allowed Buford schools to benefit from the best facilities without an increased tax burden (going down from 20 mills to 12.7 mills for school tax) or increase in service fees to the homeowners. The fees for water, sewer, electricity, and garbage were set in 1973 and have remained the same.
Mr. Beard is an avid supporter of the local fine arts programs. He attends many of the schools’ sporting and performing arts events in support of our students. Mr. Beard has always made sure the Buford Fine Arts Program has been fully funded even after State funds for the arts were discontinued. His devotion to the Buford City Schools over the past four decades has made a lasting impression on students past and present. We are the number one school district in the State of Georgia in Academics, Arts, and Athletics.
Mr. Beard thanks all the citizens of Buford for allowing him to serve and for allowing him to be a part of preparing their children for their futures.