Growing up in Jonesboro, Ark., David A. Pickler was a voracious reader. He was especially taken with the biographies of our founding fathers — John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin. What he read about their lives gave him a deep appreciation for community involvement, citizenship and especially education, he says. “Every time you touch the life of a child, you touch eternity,” Pickler says.
So it's no surprise that Pickler has served as the Chairman of the Shelby County Board of Education since 1999. Every March, he takes his love of reading to local kids during Read Across America, a week-long event that coincides with Dr. Seuss's birthday. In celebration, he dresses up like the Cat in the Hat as he reads Dr. Seuss books to the children in about 15 to 20 local schools each year.
In his role on the board, Pickler has made real changes in local education policy. He advocated for a law that requires every child to receive a newborn hearing screening before they leave the hospital. He also championed a law in his district that mandates financial literacy courses in high school. And he's worked to bring traditional values back to the schools in his area, restoring the recitation of the pledge of allegiance to classrooms and getting FedEx to donate a flag for every classroom in the district.
He has supported education in other ways, too. As school board chairman, Pickler created the Shelby County Schools Education Foundation, which includes two annual giving programs. He donates 100 percent of his stipend as a school board member to the foundation. Pickler also serves as board chairman of the Memphis Oral School for the Deaf (MOSD), which provides babies born deaf with high-powered hearing aids and teaches them to develop speech and language skills by age 5. Pickler has personally raised over $3.125 million for the school, and he's in the middle of raising another $2 million. In addition, he has organized scouting events for the Boy Scouts of America every other year since 2002, and he's personally donated over $100,000 to the local Boy Scouts Council over the last five years.
“I joke that he plugs in his big toe at night to recharge,” says John Aitken, superintendent at Shelby County Schools. “I guess he is a good manager of time.”See all of Registered Rep.'s Altruism Award Winners" class="old-inline-image">
Firm: Pickler Wealth Advisors, LPL Financial
City: Collierville, Tenn.
Years as a rep: 27
Years with current firm: 6
Production: $1.7 million
AUM: over $196 million
Product mix: Stocks 10%; insurance 40%; bonds 5%; managed accounts 30%; mutual funds 15%
Specialty: Financial planning
Designations, licenses: CFP, CHFC; Series 3, 7, 8, 63, 65; JD