Bond Joins School BD

Local businesswoman Julie Bond is looking forward to helping Stone County students succeed in the classroom and in their future careers.

This month, Bond was sworn in as the new school board member representing District 5, a seat formerly held by Doris Mathews who was first elected in 2008.

Bond said if Stone County students want to stay home and start a business after graduation, they should have an education that supports their plan.

“I’m really interested in promoting entrepreneurship,” Bond said. “I’m really interested in helping people who graduate from here and want to stay here.”

For Bond, making sure students find success after graduation, whether in college or in the workforce, is personal.

Bond said she has been successful in business, but having more workforce education opportunities in high school would have made it easier when she and her husband started their first small business.

“We sort of learned from the school of hard knocks,” Bond said.

She first started working in advertising that gave her marketing skills she would rely on in business. Everything else, they learned along the way.

“When I got out of school…I wasn’t thinking about going into business,” she said. “I just wanted go out and work.”

Bond has lived in the Big Level community with her husband, Ivan Bond, for over 40 years.

The couple own Design Pavers, a speciality contracting company, over 20 years ago. They opened Snow Boogers in 2016. It is a popular destination for sweet treats like ice cream and snow cones.

Bond said the relationship between local businesses and education is like a wheel.

She said the more local people can succeed and be successful, the more revenue the school district will receive.

“We need more funding. And the way we get more funding is we have to entice more people into our community, more businesses into our community that will pay taxes,” Bond said. “I’d love to keep more of our people here in our community that want to grow.”

As a local businesswoman, Bond is a longtime supporter of local education.

Her two daughters graduated from Stone High School. When her children were enrolled, she actively supported the school. Her daughter, Crystal Conard, is married to SHS Athletic Director Kevin Conard. The Conard’s have three children in the district.

She can be seen at most soccer games cheering on her granddaughter, or in the stands at any Stone High School baseball, watching her grandson on the field. Her youngest grandchild in the district is in second grade.

That’s the reason she ran for the position.

“I believe that I share the same values and beliefs that are important to the parents and grandparents of our students,” Bond said.

As a longtime resident, Bond felt she had an opportunity to step up and do more in a pivotal year.

“We all have opportunities sometimes to step up,” Bond said. “This (position) is really important, and it is something that I take seriously.”

Her biggest challenge will deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with other board members.

“(2020) has been like trying to prepare for a hurricane of a magnitude that has no category,” Bond said. “Thankfully, our Stone County School staff has gone above and beyond to try to create a safe learning environment,” she said. “It is impressive how our teachers and administration have stepped up to handle both the classroom and virtual classroom during this time of crisis.”

She still worries students are slipping through the cracks while parents try to juggle their work and their child’s education.

More than anything, Bond said she is energized to address issues and find solutions that will benefit students and teachers.

“I’m hoping that we can get back to school the way that school needs to be,” Bond said. “It’s my opinion that children need to be in class.”

Bond is also looking forward to building on the Board’s accomplishments in 2020.

“Looking beyond the challenges of the pandemic, there is also a great opportunity for us as we look to the future educational opportunities for the district,” Bond said.

She is excited about the new career technical education facility, which is slated to be completed within the next two years.

“I’m excited about that for sure,” she said.

Bond said the new CTE facility will provide offices, labs, equipment, and technology to help students prepare for the future.

“I would like to thank everyone that voted for me to fill this important position. I pray that my life experience as both an employee and business owner will serve this school district well,” Bond said.

Bond’s first board meeting was on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.