District 1: Sharon Gentry
As a result of redistricting, the District 1 school board race pits two incumbents against each other: Sharon Gentry and Edward T. Kendall. I do not see a whole lot difference between the candidates. However, if I lived in this district I would probably vote for Sharon Gentry. Kendall has been on the board for 27 years and that is long enough. Also, I am concerned about the legal scandal that tainted Mr. Kendall although he may be guilty of nothing more than being the father of the person involved in the scandal. Also, Mr. Kendall got the endorsement of the SEIU. All things being equal, I would prefer not to support a candidate endorsed by the SEIU. To see the District 1 candidates forum click here.
District 3: Jarad DeLozier
District 5: Elissa Kim
This is the District race that I am really excited about. The District 5 race pits current Metro School Board Chairman Gracie Porter against three challengers, one of which is Elissa Kim. Kim is the executive vice president of teacher recruitment for the national Teach for America organization. Teach for America recruits and trains teachers to teach in urban classrooms across the country.
Kim taught for Teach for America in New Orleans where she taught in one of the poorest districts in the nation. She created unprecedented success in an area where many thought there could only be failure.
Kim has received the endorsement of the Great Public Schools PAC and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. I have sent her a contribution. If I lived in her district, I would have her yard sign in my yard. To see the District 5 candidates forum click here.
District 7: Will Pinkston
Three candidates are vying for the District 7 school board seat: Will Pinkston, Alan C. Sharp, and Hillard Al Wilkins. Will Pinkston is by far the best qualified of those running in this district. He has a lot of experience in education policy including serving as director of the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), a nonprofit nonpartisan group founded by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. He has the support of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Metro Nashville Education Association. This is the district I live in and I will be voting for Will Pinkston. To see the District 7 candidates forum click here.
District 9: Margaret Dolan
The 9th District School Board race is a crowded field with five candidates seeking the seat and several of them are well known. The candidates are Bob Bogen, Eric Crafton, Margaret O. Dolan, Amy Frogge and Ronnie Osborne.
In an earlier post, I had indicated I was supporting my friend Eric Crafton. While I did not support Eric in his English-only effort, I did support Eric in his race for the office of Juvenile Court clerk. As I said in that earlier post, "I know Eric to be a good, honest, caring person who has a passion for children. He is fiscally and socially conservative and is well-educated, has a sharp mind and has a thorough command of the issues." I still feel that way about Eric, but we have another good candidate in this race. That other candidate is Margaret Dolan.
As I have learned more about the candidates and as people whose opinion I respect have said complementary things about Margaret Dolan, I have taken a second look. Being a strong advocate of school choice, I think my views are more closely alined with those of Magaret Dolan on this important issue.
I am concerned about Ms Dolan's advocacy of the recent tax increase to fund increases in teacher starting salary. Our teacher starting salary was already the second highest in middle Tennessee. Only Murfreesboro city schools had a higher starting salary. I do not think a tax increase was justified and do not think the higher starting teacher salary will do anything to increase the performance of our schools. I have concern that if Ms Dolan is on the Board, she will be an advocate for greater tax increases. I know Eric Crafton would not.
I differ with Eric Crafton on the issue of the Memorandum of Understanding issue. I support Register on that issue. While there may be merit to Eric Crafton's position that the solution to school performance is tutoring, I would not embrace tutoring at the expense of the academies and other reforms. On balance, I think Maraget Dolan would be the better choice for this seat.
Margaret Dolan, is the vice president of community relations for Ingram Industries, has a lengthy record of volunteerism, has the endorsement of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, the teachers union (MNEA) the pro-charter schools group Great Public Schools, Mayor Karl Dean, Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors and several other council members.
To view the District 9 candidates forum click here.