His time in the classroom and a decade of leadership positions in Catoosa County schools have prepared him to lead the Walker school system.
“I think my background gave me a desire to be making an impact in the lives of kids.” Raines said.
Raines formally began in the education field as a teacher of special needs students for four years, from 1998-2002.
“I was drawn to work with the special needs students. That is where my heart is,” Raines said. “I have seen significant gains with students when you give them the resources.”
Raines sees the move to place special needs students into traditional classroom setting (called the peer group inclusion program) as “a positive way to make them successful.”
He began to learn about the challenges of the educational field from teachers shopping at P&S School and Office Supply, where he worked from 1986-88.
“When I started at P&S it put me on track to get to the world of education, even though at the time I didn’t realize it,” Raines said.
“I think the best part of my background is my experience in the retail world,” he said. “You deal with so many kinds of people that when I stepped into (the classroom), dealing with the children was the easy part. It has helped me with how to approach people and to manage situations.”
Raines career has always involved what children need, even as a manager at K&K Toys and at Kay Bee Toys from 1988-98.
He returned to a leadership role, serving as assistant principal at Ringgold Elementary for three years. He became the school’s principal the following year in 2005.
Raines served as operations director in the Catoosa central office from 2006-12.
As a principal at Ringgold Elementary, Raines instituted the “Reward Plus” program, which sought to curb the discipline referrals through positive reinforcement of good behavior and attendance. The school was recognized as one of a dozen “Georgia Schools of Excellence” statewide during 2006.
“From the general appearance of what I am looking at with Walker County schools, especially at the elementary level, not only are their test scores great, but their behavior seems to be doing really well in each of their schools. Typically if you have a lot of negative behavior, you will see it in those test scores.”
Raines has already taken a preliminary glance at recently released CRCT (Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests) scores for Walker County schools and he is impressed to see significant gains in the “students exceeding” category.
One of his initial goals is to provide leadership training for central office directors and administrators.
His first formal visit to Walker County schools was during a senior project presentation at Ridgeland High School that he found to be “absolutely amazing.”
“The (school) system has a great vision and mission at this point that is very community-oriented,” Raines said. “I want to come in and rekindle that fire and keep pushing us toward those goals.”
The biggest challenge he faced as a leader (along with the city of Ringgold) was the recovery from the April 27, 2011, tornadoes that damaged school buildings.
He actually saw the tornado crest a ridge and head toward the schools from his front porch vantage point near Three Notch Road.
He drove to Ringgold Primary and Elementary to find significant roof damage, followed by a call from superintendent Denia Reese upon her being informed of the devastation to the high school and other buildings.
The fact that only three weeks of the school year remained was “a silver-lining in all of that black cloud.”
Raines was born in Lafollette, Tenn.
As a teen with a height of 6’3” he naturally developed a love of basketball, with March Madness being his favorite sports season.
While attending Tennessee Temple University (his first three years of college) he played basketball as a shooting guard/forward.
He attained a bachelor of science in organizational management from Covenant College, a masters of special education from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga and an educational specialist degree from Lincoln Memorial University.
He is married to his wife of 25 years, Patti, a special education teacher at Cloud Springs Elementary.
Raines is surrounded by a family of educators, including his mother, sister, mother-in-law and sister-in-law.
The couple have two children, a 22-year-old daughter (Amanda) studying early childhood at Kennesaw State University and a 19-year-old son (Jacob) studying nursing at Dalton State University.
The family attends Silverdale Baptist Church in Chattanooga.
He enjoys the leadership books by John Maxwell and Andy Stanley.
One of his favorite books is Tony Dungy's book "Quiet Strength."
He is a long-time fan of a movie trilogy from “a long long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” as in the original Star Wars Trilogy.
Blue Grass, jazz and contemporary Christian music are among the tunes he listens to on his iPod and iPhone.
He is fond of timeless sitcom classics like “Friends,” “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Seinfeld.”
“I try to live by the virtue ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” Raines said.
His favorite quote is, "An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest,” by Benjamin Franklin.