Voters will decide how much change will apply to Wilson and Lebanon special schools councils, starting with the May 3 primaries.
Early voting for the primaries is scheduled for April 13-28.
Nine candidates are running for four seats on Wilson County School Board. There will be at least one new board member because Linda Armistad did not seek re-election to Area 4.
The primaries have two primary school board races, both on the Republican side.
Three Republicans are vying for the Wilson County District 4 candidacy for the right to run for office in August.
Two Republicans are seeking to run for one seat in Lebanon’s special school district and advance to August against the sole Democratic candidate in the election.
A look at the candidates for the school administration:
Wilson County Schools
Beth Myers, 59: Moved to Wilson County in 2019 from Louisiana with 31 years of education experience, including 20 in a class.
Myers also has experience as a private school supervisor and two years on its board.
Myers has concerns about “planned curricula” being imposed on teachers and other policies and initiatives that Tinsey is adopting that Myers believes did not work in Louisiana.
“The bottom line is the student,” Myers said. “Do students get the best programs possible with the money taxpayers give them? And if not, we need to be willing to recognize and adapt to improve things.”
Myers is not running in the primaries and will face an independent candidate in August.
Melissa Walker Lynn, 57: There will be no opponents in the primary and district elections.
Lynn was appointed to the seat in October to fill the vacancy vacated by the resigned John White.
Lynn retired in 2020 after 34 years of teaching in Wilson County. Lynn has also been a graduate of Mount Juliet High School since 1982.
“I know what’s going on in the classrooms and what’s going on in the schools for better or worse,” Lynn said.
Retaining teachers and salaries and allowing educators flexibility to make “professional decisions” and use complementary materials within the defined standards to “keep Wilson County students at the high level we are at,” are the highlights for Lynn.
Preston George, 23: God A 2017 Wilson Central High graduate and 2021 Middle Tennessee State University graduate is currently working toward his master’s degree. George works for Kruger as a floor planning surgeon for the General Office.
George believes that a recent experience as a student that includes virtual learning can give the board a much-needed perspective on a new landscape for public education.
Anti-bullying and educational and technical education are two points of emphasis for George who wants to bring “a proactive vision to our students and teachers”,
Maurice Pasik, 39; A parent of West Wilson High School wants to increase parental involvement and choice in school decision-making.
“I believe we have moved further away from local government and moved closer to the federal government,” Pasik said. “I believe the parents’ point of view is very important.”
Passik also ran in 2018.
Joseph Padilla, 42: The 20-year-old Marine Corps veteran criticizes federal and government government initiatives such as No Child Left Behind, Critical Race Theory and Social Emotional Learning.
Padilla is running a campaign on local preventative decision-making.
“My priority is to bring the educational issues that the citizens of Area 4 want to the (principal) of the schools and other members of the school administration,” Padilla said. “Yes, I have opinions on critical race theory and socio-emotional learning, but as a representative, it will be my duty to listen to people in Area 4 and support their voices heard.”
Kimberly McGee, 51: McGee, who is seeking re-election for a second term, is not opposed in the primaries.
“I learned a lot while on the board,” McGee said. “There is a learning curve and I want to take the knowledge I have gained to continue helping our students for the next four years. Wilson County in a new way. We have a new principal with new ideas on how to retain and attract employees, including pay raises for all WCS employees.”
Capital projects related to the growth and rebuilding of Stoner Creek Elementary and West Wilson Middle are among the other priorities that McGee sees in the coming term.
Independent candidates (not at the polls until August 4)
Bill Robinson, 74 (75 on April 8): The former teacher and coach for 32 years at Watertown High School was elected three terms and served nearly 12 years on the school board.
Robinson also spent five years in former Lebanon middle school and has 37 years as a coach in coaching.
“I feel the quality of our facilities has improved, our academic performance has improved and I feel good about what has happened in the last 12 years and I want to continue to help move forward,” Robinson said. “It’s still important to me.”
Dorothy Cricello, 70: Retired two years ago after more than 30 years in education, 20 of them in the public schools of Metro Nashville.
Cricello was a community supervisor in Nashville and oversaw schools in the Southwest Quarter of Davidson County, all of which are alternative and special pre-kindergarten schools. Cricello is also a former principal at Hickman Elementary School.
Teacher retention and “teacher satisfaction” are priorities for Cricello.
“(When the teachers) are happy they are going to stay,” Cricello said.
Cricello also wants the local school council to maintain control over decisions concerning schools and educational services within those community service areas.
Dalton Missile, 24: A former Carol-Auckland student and 2015 Lebanon High School graduate is currently teaching at Byars Dowdy Elementary in Lebanon Special School District.
“The people who know the most about what’s going on in our schools right now are our teachers,” Till said.
Searching for information and teacher opinions is a top priority for Tel, who wants to foster an environment where teachers will stay in the field and encourage students to stay in the profession.
Equal access for all students and a strategic approach to growth will also be Teel’s priorities.
Lebanon Special School District
(One seat in a row)
Collapse Stephens, 39: Stephens is a parent to students at Walter J. Baird Middle in Lebanon Special School District and Lebanon High School in Wilson County Schools.
“After watching the board for the past few years, I think it’s time for us to have a parent on the LSSD board,” Stephens said. “As a conservative Republican woman, and parent to a student in the county, I can bring a new perspective to the board that is currently absent.”
Stephens works as a mediator, was in Coles Perry’s elementary PTO and now volunteers with Walter J. Baird’s mothers.
Mark Tomlinson, 62: The incumbent has been on the board since September 2006. He had children in the county, now has four grandchildren in the school system, a daughter who teaches at the elementary school Sam Houston and a nephew who is an assistant principal at Bears Daoudi.
“Preparing for growth due to the number of people moving into our community is a major concern,” Tomlinson said. “I am also very concerned about the non-educational and social learning gaps created by COVID.”
Tomlinson also wants to help nurture an environment for parents to be active in educating their child.
Bulge McMurray-Pete, 57: The bishop and pastor at Heaven’s View Baptist Church in Lebanon is the only Democrat to have applied to any local office for the Wilson County primaries.
McMurry-Fite had children in the Lebanese special school district, including one now. McMurry-Fite also has children associated with a church in the borough.
“We want to make sure the kids and teachers get the best of everything,” McMurray-Pete said. “The best teachers, the best teacher support, the best textbooks, technology and I believe in equality for all … We want to be sure they have everything they need to be successful.”
McMurry-Fite is not running in the primaries and will face the Republican winner in August.
Early voting sites
Early voting for the May 3 primaries is scheduled for April 13-28. Wilson County will use four seats, Lighthouse Church will no longer serve as a polling station. Hours are 8: 00-18: 00, Monday-Friday and 8: 00-13: 00, Saturday. The locations are:
- Wilson County Electoral Commission, 230 E. Gay Street, Lebanon
- Mt. Juliet, 1075 Charlie Daniels Parkway
- Gladeville Community Center, 95 McCrary Road
- Watertown Community Center, 8630 Sparta Pike
Contact Andy Humbles at email@example.com or 615-726-5939 and on Twitter @ AndyHumbles.