Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Jackson Miller kicked off his campaign for school board in a living room announcement at his home today

Jackson Miller kicks off his campaign for School Board
Jackson Miller kicked off his campaign for school board today in the living room of his 10th Ave South home across the street from Waverly-Belmont Elementary School. Twenty-five or so people crowded into the living room and dinning room for the announcement.  He was introduced by his son who is standing to his left in this picture. I am an amateur journalist and did not take good notes, so I don't recall what he said but he was cute and charming and his remarks were clever. Mr. Miller should be proud of his son.

Miller said that as a parent of six children, five of whom attend public schools in Nashville, and as someone who grew up attending  public schools, he had a vested interest in improving the city's public education climate.  He told of attending Eakin school as a child and how Eakin was a very good school.  He said he attended school with immigrants who were refugees from Cuba and Burma, as well as students who were children of privileged immigrant parents who were professors at Vanderbilt, and some of the best students from across the county. He said Eakin was an excellent school but he thought there should be good schools in every zip code.

After what he describes as a “phenomenal” experience at Eakin Elementary School, he said he attended J. T. Moore Middle School and Hillsboro High School. A devastating event in middle school changed his trajectory.  “During my second week at J. T. Moore, my mother was hit by a drunk driver and told she’d never walk again,” he said. “Middle school is hard enough when you’ve got a good support system at home. But that wreck shook our family to the core, and I quickly found myself on the ‘discipline’ track at school.”  He said that was back when they could still paddle in school and he said he got more than his share of paddling. He also said he spend a lot of time in the principal's office. "Books and instruction aren’t enough if a kid’s working through challenges, stress or trauma at home." he said. “I Know what It’s like to slip through the cracks,” he said. He dropped out of school and ended up getting a GED rather than a regular diploma.

He said that from his own experience as a product of Nashville public schools and as a parent of students in public schools he knows that we must do more than what we are doing for Nashville to have great schools.  He said that the most important factor in a child succeeding or failing is school is often a good caring teacher.  He said if the teacher's time is taken up by needless testing, training, and reporting that there may not be enough time for that child who needs extra help to get it.  He said he believes the key to a good school is a collaborative approach to learning within the school and a strong school leader. He said schools need more autonomy. He says he favors an organizational structure that goes from the bottom up, not the top down.  While I did not record the exact words, he said something to the effect that the dollars need to follow the child, and creating an environment that puts the child first is important to success in educating children.

It was a pleasure to get to meet Jackson Miller and his wife, mother and sister today.  I was impressed by what I heard and I am supporting him in his campaign for the school board seat to replace Will Pinkston.  I have already made my first contribution to his campaign, making it today as soon as I got back to my office from attending his announcement. When it comes time to put yard signs in the yard, I will put a Jackson Miller yard sign in mine.  The election is not until August of this year, so this will be a long campaign but the differences between these two candidates is clear and Jackson Miller is the kind of person we need on the school board.

To learn more about Jackson Miller or contribute to his campaign, follow this link: Jackson Miller for Nashville School Board

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