Reprinted with permission from the Williamson County Chamber of Commerce.

See all of the school board candidate responses here:

Tell us about yourself, your previous or current experience with Williamson County Schools (WCS), whether you have children currently attending a public school in the district, and please share your schools/community/board involvement.

I was born in Lexington, KY. My family moved to Middle Tennessee in the mid-1970’s and finally settled in Franklin in 1980. I attended Franklin Jr. High and Franklin High School. I graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in English. I lived in Lexington for several years after college, got married and then moved to Nashville in 1999. We moved to Fairview in 2008. I have spent most of my professional life in digital marketing and advertising. My wife is a National Board Certified teacher and has taught in Williamson County Schools for more than 20 years. She’s devoted her life to teaching and has been named Teacher of the Year for Fairview Elementary and the Williamson County Schools Elementary Teacher of the Year. 

We have two daughters who have grown up attending Fairview Elementary, Fairview Middle and Fairview High School. Our oldest daughter graduated from Fairview High School with the AP Capstone Diploma and was valedictorian of her class. She is attending college in Tennessee.

Our youngest daughter is a junior at Fairview High and is also in the AP Capstone program as well as an active member of student council and the school’s theater program. 

Over the years, I have volunteered on various PTO’s, donated time and services to the Fairview Middle and High School theater departments and served on the Fairview High Thespian Boosters to support the theater program. I’ve also earned my share of splinters leading parent volunteers during Homecoming float builds for both of our daughters’ classes. In our community, I co-founded a local non-profit, the Loblolly Pine Alliance, to advocate for responsible growth in Fairview and I currently serve as Co-Chair of the Fairview Parks and Landscaping Board for the City of Fairview.

Why are you running for the WCS Board of Education?

I’m running for school board because I want to be a strong advocate for the teachers, support staff, administrators and (most importantly) students in our district. District 1 is unique compared to the other districts in Williamson county. Many of the issues our schools face are very different from most other schools and it is important that our representative on the school board be a voice for the faculty, parents and students that make up our district.

Fairview is my family’s home. The strong sense of community and love we’ve felt in Fairview and especially in our schools is something that I want to nurture and grow for our future generations. That same sense of community and care for our schools also thrives in Spring Hill and I look forward to the opportunity to represent all of the communities that make up our district.

What is the number one issue facing WCS?

While there are many important issues that exist, I believe retaining our teachers and support staff is the most critical issue. Williamson County Schools has experienced too much turnover over the last several years. While compensation is a big part of the issue, there are other ways we can ensure that all of our schools across the county can improve retention.

One important way we can affect retention as School Board members is to recognize that our staff, teachers and administrators are the primary reason our schools are the best in the state. Our teachers are highly trained professionals who’ve devoted their lives to teaching and we should help build partnerships with them for the benefit of our children.

Instead of the current levels of friction and misunderstanding between parents, teachers & administrators, the school system and the school board, we all need to come together and find consensus and remind ourselves that it’s our children and what they need to be prepared for their futures that matters. That means getting back to basics – relying on experts and fact-based principles of what works in education. It also means making sure our highly-trained and dedicated teachers know we respect and value them for the years of education and training they’ve put into their profession. Just like any profession, teachers will stay, work to continue their professional development and, in turn, improve student outcomes when they are valued and treated like professionals.

What do you believe is the role of the Board of Education in ensuring the success of WCS students?

The Williamson County Board of Education plays a crucial role in shaping the educational landscape for our future generation. It’s not just about managing budgets and policies; it’s about actively orchestrating an environment where every student can thrive. 

I believe the Board’s role in ensuring the success of our students includes: establishing clear, ambitious goals for academic achievement and driving continuous improvement; developing a data-driven, long-term strategic plan that guides resource allocation, policy decisions, and program development; championing public education at the local & state level; forging strong partnerships with the community and stakeholders; and creating policies that support innovation and student success while ensuring efficient operations and fiscal responsibility.

What do community partnerships – particularly in workforce and career education – mean to you? How would you like to see WCS expand upon them?

We have had some great success at Fairview High School with the Mechatronics program that allows students to be able to finish high school with the opportunity to earn an associates degree from Columbia State. This success shows that there is an opportunity to expand these kinds of programs across the county. 

If elected, I would advocate for more availability of College, Career and Technical Education (CCTE) program offerings locally in District 1 schools so our students don’t have to travel to other schools in the county.

I would also love to see more programs be implemented that allow students to graduate with a degree or a certificate in a trade program. In addition, we should work to build stronger relationships with the businesses and companies that may one day employ our high school graduates to enhance the courses and training offered in these courses means our graduates enter into their adult lives with better skills to find success.

How do you intend to communicate with constituents? How much time do you anticipate being able to commit to being an effective board member?

Being a School Board member is about serving the community and ensuring effective communication is at the heart of my commitment. Being an effective board member requires dedication and a significant time commitment. 

I am prepared to fulfill my responsibilities, which include: 

  • Being fully prepared when attending all board meetings and committee meetings 
  • Reviewing board documents and reports thoroughly and meeting with Central Office staff and teachers, administrators and parents in our community to understand their thoughts and ideas about proposals brought to the board
  • Researching educational issues and policy proposals 
  • Actively participating in board discussions and decision-making 
  • Meeting with constituents, educators, and community stakeholders on a regular basis 

I plan on spending as much time at school events, meetings and ceremonies across the district as well as talking regularly with parents, teachers and administrators so that I can get to know and understand the issues each school faces AND celebrate the good that happens every day. I understand that the success of our schools depends on open communication, informed decision-making, and community engagement. I am committed to building trust and collaboration with all stakeholders, working tirelessly to achieve a brighter future for all students in our district.

With recent challenges in hiring/retaining of key WCS staff, what approaches would you advocate for as a board member?

Our teachers and staff deserve competitive compensation, meaningful professional development opportunities, and policies that foster a positive and supportive work environment. In particular, we must remember that our schools are the best in the state because of the quality of the teachers, administrators and support staff in each school. To retain these wonderful teachers specifically, we need to be focused on ensuring we develop teacher efficacy. 

In a nutshell, we treat teachers like professionals; we empower them to be able to adjust and try different learning strategies in the classroom and give them opportunity for professional development which in turn has a direct impact on student outcomes. Our great teachers will want to stay, and the best teachers from other systems will want to work in our schools. 

We also need to take the time to listen to our educators, staff and administrators.

We should foster an environment where they can share concerns as they occur and work collaboratively to find solutions. I believe regular communication with the administrators, teachers and staff at each of the schools in my district is something that has been lacking for many years. I want to establish an open-door, reliable and consistent line of communication between myself, parents, administrators and teachers to rebuild trust and collaboration that will lead to our students’ success.