Lakeland School Board Candidates

Election Featured PhotoLast month, The View 38002 contacted the four candidates running for the Lakeland School Board.

On September 17, Lakeland residents will be voting for two school board members. School board members do not hold specific positions, but the top two candidates with the most votes will be elected to a four-year term.

Participating candidates were given a 350-word limit for their responses. The responses printed here are unedited, except for formatting that does not change the content or intent of the answer.

The responses are grouped alphabetically by position and separated by municipality, as that is the way that they will appear on the ballot.

Two Electoral Candidate Forums are planned for Lakeland BOC candidates. The first, hosted by the Lakeland Elementary School PTA will be at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, August 24 at Lakeland Elementary School. On Monday, August 31 at 7:00 p.m., Partnership Lakeland will host a Candidate Forum at the Refuge Church,  9871 Huff N Puff Rd, in Lakeland.

Teresa Henry

Career/Occupation: Previous career background in Medical Office Management and Employee Benefits. Became a stay at home mom to raise my son.  Currently working part-time.

Contact Info: Teresahenry.webs.com

Why are you running for office?

As a school board member you take an oath to place the interests of children above all others in every decision that is made. I have a proven track record as an advocate by serving as a PTA/Booster board member for 10 years.  The past four years I have fought for Lakeland schools.  The past two years as a school board member I have worked toward building the Lakeland School System. I also have a knowledge base of the system that a new member would not have. My past professional work experience gave me experience working with budgets.

How many meetings of the board have you attended in the past year? Have you voted in every election in the past five years? Did you vote in the April 16 Referendum? If so, did you vote for or against the bond referendum? 

Attended all but one due to the flu. Yes, military servicemen/women serve so that I have this freedom.  Yes. As a school board member, it is my sworn duty to vote in a way that is in the best interest of children.

Where do you see the Lakeland School System in five years in terms of number and types of schools, programs offered, existing Inter-Local Agreements, and qualities that will differentiate Lakeland from other municipal school districts? What specific steps are you going to take to achieve the five year end state you described?

With the information available to me at this time, I see two schools in Lakeland, Lakeland Elementary and Middle School. I would like to see advanced level academic classes as well as fine arts.  The availability of these classes would be based student achievement and demand.   In regards to the inter-local agreement, an amended or new agreement could need to be agreed upon between Arlington and Lakeland School Boards.

LSS will stand out from other systems through the technology program we are currently developing.  This program focuses on the application of technology that will enhance student achievement, not just putting hardware in the hands of the students.  We are looking at all aspect of our system and recently made changes to the before/aftercare program to enhance educational opportunities as well as the compensation plan through the child benefit.

A school board member is responsible for developing goals for the system.  The Superintendent/staff are responsible for the day-to-day operations to meet the goals/objectives.  As a board member, one of my jobs is to support the Superintendent while giving oversight and discussion of the systems vision when necessary.

What would be the first thing you would do if elected?

The first thing is to work toward an amended agreement with Arlington that will ensure the educational path for Lakeland High School students for the foreseeable future.

Geoff Hicks

Career/Occupation: Pilot/Instructor, FedEx Express

Contact Info: electGeoff@gmail.com; 501-454-5348; Facebook page: Geoff Hicks for Lakeland School Board

Why are you running for office?

I’m running for School Board for two reasons: 1) I’m passionate about the future of education for Lakeland’s children, and 2) I have a strong desire to serve my community. I have professional teaching experience at FedEx and am a 24-year Navy veteran. I have served on the LES PTA board as the Watch D.O.G.S. Coordinator as well as on the Oakwood neighborhood HOA board. The pride, momentum, and ownership that I have witnessed at LES inspired me to seek office.

How many meetings of the board have you attended in the past year? Have you voted in every election in the past five years? Did you vote in the April 16 Referendum? If so, did you vote for or against the bond referendum? 

I have attended one Lakeland Board of Education work session this year and several Board of Commissioners meetings and work sessions. I’ve cultivated a relationship with Superintendent Horrell and studied how the BOE and BOC function.

I haven’t voted in every election in the last five years. I voted for the $50M bond in the April 16th referendum because the plan presented by the BOE was bold, forward thinking, and met the long-term needs of Lakeland’s children.

Where do you see the Lakeland School System in five years in terms of number and types of schools, programs offered, existing Inter-Local Agreements, and qualities that will differentiate Lakeland from other municipal school districts? What specific steps are you going to take to achieve the five year end state you described?

Over the next five years, I envision an established middle school in Lakeland with dedicated faculty, administration, and PTA volunteers. Ideally, the same types of programs offered at other top districts (e.g., APEX, STEAM, clubs, and sports) will be implemented.

It’s difficult to predict the details of future inter-local agreements with Arlington Community Schools. Lakeland’s children will likely continue to attend Arlington High School.

To accomplish the five-year goal for LSS, I will conduct research, solicit community input, and consult with established top-performing districts. The administrators and faculty will differentiate LSS from other districts.  The focus should be recruiting the same caliber of educators who currently work for LES to help make LSS the standard by which other districts are measured.

What would be the first thing you would do if elected?

If elected, my first order of business will be to facilitate the approved middle school plan. Finishing the work that has begun includes ensuring that the best and most cost-effective programs are implemented at Lakeland Middle School.

Susan Miller

Career/Occupation:Mother and Network Engineer

Contact Info: Susan_Miller@outlook.com

Why are you running for office?

I decided to run for the Lakeland School Board for a couple of reasons. I want to provide a voice for all of the children and parents in Lakeland, including those zoned to Donelson.  I feel that we are endangering our relationship with our educational partners (ACS), and as a result we are risking the education opportunities of our children, and those of our entire municipal school system.

How many meetings of the board have you attended in the past year? Have you voted in every election in the past five years? Did you vote in the April 16 Referendum? If so, did you vote for or against the bond referendum? 

I have attended many board meetings, and have also kept up with the issues by following both press coverage and conversations on various social media sites.  I have voted in most of the elections over the past five years, and most importantly voted against the bond during the special elections, because I believe that the plan was rushed, lacked planning and involvement of the entire community, was too expensive, and risked the relationship we have with our educational partners.

Where do you see the Lakeland School System in five years in terms of number and types of schools, programs offered, existing Inter-Local Agreements, and qualities that will differentiate Lakeland from other municipal school districts? What specific steps are you going to take to achieve the five year end state you described?

I have a 7 year old daughter that is zoned for Donelson Elementary because of the Inter-Local Agreement that is in place between Lakeland and Arlington. My son attended LES, AMS, and AHS, and has since gone on to UT Martin. I’d like to ensure that she has the same, if not better education than he did.  This is guaranteed today with the existing partnership with Arlington Community Schools.  The Inter-Local provides Lakeland the flexibility of building our own schools, which should only be carefully planned and budgeted to insure that the same level and offerings provided by the current schools are available to our children.  Should this present itself, then I would support it with the backing of the community.

What would be the first thing you would do if elected?

If elected, I would like to make the Lakeland School Board more open and invite and listen to the community, leaving their personal feelings and agenda’s aside. My first priority would be to work immediately on improving the relationship with Arlington Community Schools, so we can work together to make the schools utilized by our children top notch facilities to prepare Lakeland’s children for the future.

Mica Partain

Career/Occupation: Mother and Volunteer at Le Bonheur Hospital

Why are you running for office?

My objective is to help reunite the Board and the community it serves, so that the citizens are confident in the School Board’s ability to carry out their mission as well as do what is in the best interest of our children.

How many meetings of the board have you attended in the past year? Have you voted in every election in the past five years? Did you vote in the April 16 Referendum? If so, did you vote for or against the bond referendum? 

My husband and I have attended several of our community’s various meetings. Since moving here in 2012, we have voted in every election including the Bond referendum, in which we voted No. We are for schools and excellent education, however, we want Lakeland to be financially responsible when it comes to bringing on that much debt. It is also important to have the support of the community behind a plan of that magnitude.  It was clear that the city of Lakeland was not behind the $50 million dollar bond.

Where do you see the Lakeland School System in five years in terms of number and types of schools, programs offered, existing Inter-Local Agreements, and qualities that will differentiate Lakeland from other municipal school districts? What specific steps are you going to take to achieve the five year end state you described?

I believe it is entirely possible for our community to expand our educational facilities in the near future while continually providing a superior educational experience. However, in terms of the number of schools and the type of schools/programs, that  would  entirely depend on what our community’s needs and financial resources are in the future.  Key factors that go into that decision include population growth, financial stability and the status of our continued partnership with Arlington.  Until the majority of our community is ready to responsibly bear the cost to construct additional schools, I believe it is important to rebuild trust and have a healthy partnership with the other municipal school districts.  I intend to have an open mind, listen to what the education needs are for Lakeland and act prudently.  I will pay special attention to our economic and population growth with the objective being that we will do our best to act responsibly toward providing the necessary resources toward educating the children of our community.

What would be the first thing you would do if elected?

If elected, my initial objective would be to rebuild the community’s confidence and trust in the board.  I will commit my time and energy necessary to be an effective leader and to do what is best for both our children and our community.

 

 

 

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