December 7, 2022
  • Home
  • >
  • >
  • Collierville’s School Board, Pos. 4 boasts four candidates

Collierville’s School Board, Pos. 4 boasts four candidates

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

By Graham Sweeney

Keri Blair, Chelsea Glass, Heath Hudspeth and Jeremy Smith are all vying for an open seat on the Germantown School Board. 

All of the candidates were recently asked to complete an election questionnaire supplied by the Collierville Herald – Independent. 

Early voting begins on Oct. 19 and election day is Nov. 8.

Keri Blair

• Keri Blair

Bristol Myers Squibb – Area Reimbursement Manager

Graduate of Collierville High School class of 1998

Graduate of Union University 2001 – BS in Psychology and Health Education

Currently pursuing a Masters at the University of West Alabama

Husband, Brad Blair (43)

Daughter, Aubrey Blair (9)

Organizations, Groups, Activities:

Grace Valley Church/Praise and Worship Team

Chi Omega Alumnae

Conservative Women of Collierville

Republican Women of Purpose

Member of all nine Collierville PTA/PTSO

Memphis Hightailers Bicycle Club

Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer

American Cancer Society

Education, Communication, Incentivizing Teachers

Education: 

• We need to continue to focus on education as a priority for all students. This means giving teachers the opportunity to use programs that have worked in the past if deemed appropriate for that child/children’s needs for learning. In addition, there need to be programs or initiatives to take some pressure off of standardized testing (I am aware of the 3rd-grade retention law). Equipping our K-2 with an acceptable amount of assistants and intervention programs to meet the rigorous demands of 3rd-grade reading.

Communication: 

We need to increase opportunities to inform our students, parents, and teachers about what is taking place in the district. While the working sessions and board meetings are helpful, I would like to see a quarterly town hall take place like our Board of Mayor, and Alderman execute on a consistent basis.

Incentivizing Teachers: 

Having the best district in the state and striving for the best district in the nation, we need to continuously create an environment of retaining and hiring the best teachers! The district just approved an increase in the salary for our teachers/coaches etc., which is great, but we have to build upon that. One thing that I think is realistic is supplying our teachers with more resources for their classrooms, so they don’t have to use substantial money out of their own pockets in preparing their classrooms for the year. In addition, we should look at a system that promotes annual bonuses, more vacation, and personal days off based off their tenure. Space for our students, making sure we are prepared for the future. 

• As our town continues to grow we need to make sure there is sufficient space for our students in all of our schools. I am aware of a growth study that is in the process of taking place if not already started. It’s important we are prepared for the future.

• We need a complete representation on the school board contributing from all levels of education, elementary, middle school, and high school. In addition to that contribution, it’s important that we have a mother who sits on the board with children active in our district. 

For me personally, in choosing to run, this is not about another line on my resume or a need to elevate myself for personal gain within a leadership group. This decision is solely based on long-term decisions of walking with parents on a journey in making sure all of our children have the same opportunities in achieving their post-secondary education goals. Currently, neither of those roles is filled by the board. 

I want to be a direct line of communication for the students, parents, and teachers.

With over 16 years of experience in the professional business world, I am aware of the importance of balancing a budget. If I have this opportunity to serve the community I realize that with any new role there is a learning curve. I have had to learn new roles and responsibilities my entire life as a wife, mother, and business professional. I think it’s important to understand that no one has all the answers, and the current members on the board along with the superintendent, teachers, and administrators play a huge role in a partnership of making lifelong decisions for our students.

Chelsea Glass

• Chelsea Glass 

(Information acquired from web site) 

I’ve spent the last 14 years as a parent. I lead my children with their safety and happiness at the forefront of my mind. My leadership as a parent is the kind of leadership you can expect from me as a sitting school board member.
I will lead with the best interests of all of our students in mind; specifically our Black, Brown, Undocumented, Inter/Multi-faith, and LGBTQIA+ students. 

Our schools are long overdue for representation that puts them first. There’s an old saying that high tides raise all ships. As the tides turn we must rise above to ensure that the school is the second safest place for our students. Safety has multiple meanings to people and our students are no different. We must empower, support, and protect our students and teachers alike. 

Not only am I a parent but I have been a single mom and currently a working-class parent with a disability. I know what it means to struggle. I know that working-class folks need better wages and benefits, including our teachers and school staff. I plan to be a champion for our teachers and staff by centering their needs to inform my decisions as a school board member. 

Making sure that parents have someone to turn to and someone who will listen when others have ignored or overlooked them is one of my top priorities. I can share in the experience of raising my voice on important issues in our schools, just to be shut down because there are no sitting board members who share my values. We can change this, together. 

Education is about addition, not subtraction. We should all be working to find ways to add to the enrichment and knowledge of our children.   

Heath Hudspeth

• Heath Hudspeth

Current Occupation: 

Regional Operation Manager 

Education: 

Bachelor of General Science from University of Central Arkansas minor in Psychology

Master in Christian Studies from Union University

Family: 

Married to wife Sally for 27 years; three daughter that attend Collierville schools ages 24, 21, and 18

 Organizations/Groups/Activities: 

Central Church, Rotary Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes

• List three significant issues in this election.

a. Collierville Schools are some of the best schools in the country but people are divided and focused on agendas rather than building off this success.

b. Collierville Schools are so popular they are becoming overcrowded and need plans for the future.

c. Understanding and communication about state laws like the 3rd Grade Retention.

• Specifically, how do you plan to deal with each of these issues, if elected?

a. I believe my experience as an involved father and school volunteer has taught me the importance to listen to people and acknowledge their concerns. 

b. This is a discussion I have been waiting involved in with school board members, school administration, and our board of alderman. It is critical for all these groups to work together to develop options and look toward the future.

c. With the state legislation passing the 3rd grade retention law it it important to communicate this to the community where they can

push back to Nashville and make sure community knows options.

• What do you think is the biggest concern facing our school system at this time, and why?

Some are more interested in pushing an agenda rather than looking after best interest of students. We have a great school system and when people push their agenda rather than working to pull students, parents, teachers and the community together, we loose focus on what makes us great. We need board members than want to listen and represent the community and I want to be that person.

• What specifically makes you best qualified for the position you are seeking?

I believe that since my wife and I have successfully navigated three daughters through Collierville Schools, this gives experience and a views from every level of school. In addition, my continuous involvement and understanding of the School Board and PTSA/PTSO gives me experience that will be helpful in working with a variety of people. Lastly, since my children have graduated from Collierville High, my focus is on what is best for all students not just mine.

Jeremy Smith

• Jeremy Smith

Professional School Counselor (Shelby County Schools)

B.A. English, M.A.T. Secondary Education, Ed.S. School Counseling, School Administrator Licensure

Wife Amy (teacher at Schilling/West Collierville Middle), Mom Linda Ensminger (teacher and coach @ Collierville Elem. and Middle, Ret.), Children Connor (‘20 Collierville grad), Melody (Senior at CHS), Barrett (Sophomore at CHS).

Vice President Collierville High School Alumni Association (CHSAA), Collierville FFA Alumni member, Coach (various basketball and baseball rec/church teams over the past 30 years in Collierville).

1. Student Achievement and AYP (annual yearly progress), Teacher Recruitment and Retainment, and accommodating a continuous growing school district.

2. Budget for growth and increased teacher materials/equipment (Promethean Boards, Smart Boards, etc.), Encourage teacher incentives for new hires and current employees due to growth (if needed), Plan ahead for additional schools/buildings due to growth. Basically being proactive instead of reactive when it comes to growth.

3. Growth, as stated earlier, we need to be proactive and not reactive to future growth and have a plan in place for increased student projections. 

4. I’m a 25-plus year educator with Shelby County Schools (10 yrs. a classroom teacher, English/language arts, and 15 yrs. a high school counselor, head basketball coach). I’m deeply rooted in this community having lived here most of my life since 1971, attended Collierville Schools K-12 and 1989 graduate), and my involvement in the community over the past 30 years (worked for Park/Rec in college, coached numerous sports teams, mostly basketball and baseball), and my involvement in the CHSAA and FFA Alumni (daughter is president of the FFA).

Related Posts

The Collierville Herald-Independent strives every day to bring the people of Collierville news that impacts their lives, allowing them to make more informed decisions on a daily basis.
Contact us: [email protected]

Editor's Pick

© Copyright 2022