She could have been working in a teen favorite spot in Sandersville at a restaurant we both know — Dairylane. But since she did not become a waitress, she just stops there when she goes to her hometown and gets a cherry vanilla Mr. Pibb.
When she was a sixth-grader, Shannon decided she wanted to be a lawyer. Her mother thought she would be a good one because she liked to argue. But a teacher in her school actually told Shannon she could not do that.
That lady must not have known budding attorney Shannon well. She has always been good at doing things others thought she could not do. Her mantra is the very familiar, “Shoot for the moon; even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.”
Now Cherokee County’s District Attorney — the first woman to hold the position — Shannon Wallace recognizes the sacrifices her parents made for their children so they could get the best education available.
In the middle Georgia area where the Glover family lived, the public schools were not up to the standards they wanted for their children. But, there was a highly successful private academy, Brentwood.
Even though both were working, their income was not enough for them to afford the tuition for the three children to go to Brentwood.
Hence, Mr. and Mrs. Glover took a second job to enable their children to attend. They became the school janitors.
Like her parents, Shannon Wallace is a hard worker. Before presenting a case to a judge or jury, she has spent many hours in preparation for the trial. She believes preparation is more important than the trial itself.
Readying herself, she looks at a case from every possible angle. As you might say, she has her “ducks in a row” before the trial begins.
Then, after all that preparation, the accused may decide to enter a not guilty plea. That being the case, there is a trial. That suits DA Wallace fine. After all, there are no guarantees when you go before a jury.
Most of us like for our elected leaders to “look the part.” Shannon Wallace does that. From head to toe, she has the appearance of the professional she is.
She says one of the things lawyers must do is to educate jurors. For example, many regularly watch courtroom dramas like “Law and Order.”
DA Wallace explains to a jury that being in court in real-life is not like it is in television dramas. One hair found in the shag carpet in a television drama may solve the case at the last minute. Miraculous things like that do not happen in real live court.
With a population of 200,000-plus in Cherokee County it takes a full cadre of assistant district attorneys to keep the office going. Currently, there are 15 and each is assigned 100 cases. Would you believe that in 2013 there were 3,238 new cases?
Soon after completing law school, Shannon Wallace worked in a law firm. She soon determined she was a prosecutor and not a defense attorney. While she was working as an assistant to then-District Attorney Garry Moss, he decided he would not seek re-election. She put her name on the ballot and won the post.
It was a good day for Cherokee County. She was ready on day one since Moss trained her for the position. One of the most helpful things for her was being included when he prepared a new budget. That was totally new to her.
Our district attorney does have a life away from the office. She and her husband, Kyle Wallace, met while they were both in law school at the University of Georgia. An attorney himself, he holds a position with Alston and Byrd.
They have two children. Brayden is 7 and Kyleigh is 10. Very supportive of their children, they often are at youth events with them. When possible, they vacation at one of their favorite beaches.
There are times when they have a “date night.” Members of a supper club, once a month they get together with their friends. Being members of a church is important to them, too. Sometimes just the two of them go out.
In other words, while Shannon Wallace holds one of the most important offices in our county, she and her family live their lives much like the rest of us.
When asked what she thinks are some of the most valuable characteristics for a district attorney to serve the people well, she includes compassion and integrity.
Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace has both.
Marguerite Cline is former mayor of Waleska.