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Elected school board members express excitement, eagerness to start working

By Bill Short

Last month, Don Holsinger, Cecilia "C.J." Haley and Jennifer Carroll participated in a School Board Candidate Forum at the Civic Center. The trio was elected last Thursday to Millington's first school board.

Last month, Don Holsinger, Cecilia “C.J.” Haley and Jennifer Carroll participated in a School Board Candidate Forum at the Civic Center. The trio was elected last Thursday to Millington’s first school board.

Winners of the three contested races in last Thursday’s election for Millington’s first municipal school board say they are “excited” and eager to start work.
Calling the results “kind of overwhelming,” Cecilia “C. J.” Haley said she is “humbled” by the vote.
“I have been waiting on this day for a while now,” she noted on election night. “And I just feel like it’s a long time coming.”
Haley received 306 votes, or 56 percent of the 545 cast for Position 2. Oscar Brown got 236 votes, or 43 percent. Three write-in ballots were cast in that race.
Jennifer Carroll said she feels “very honored and blessed” to have the residents’ trust that she can do “a good job” of making decisions on the board. She noted that, during the campaign, she was able to walk through neighborhoods and meet with many educators and parents in the community.
“I’m thrilled that everybody I talked to showed their support and came out and voted,” she said. “I think that kind of shows that they were happy to see an educator running and a teacher’s voice being on this board.”
Carroll received 394 votes, or 77 percent of the 509 cast for Position 6. Tom Stephens got 113 votes, or 22 percent. Two write-in ballots were cast in that race.
While calling it “a good election,” Don Holsinger said the seven board members now have a lot of work ahead of them to hire a superintendent and help that person implement the board’s policies.
Noting that the members had an informal “get-together” on election night where they learned who had won, he said everyone is ready to get to work. He also acknowledged that there are still “a few things” that need to “fall into place.”
“But we’re hopeful that they’re going to fall into place as we want them,” he concluded. “And we can get on with what we need to do to get a good school system going by next year.”
Holsinger received 289 votes, or 55 percent of the 526 cast for Position 7. Charles P. Reed got 235 votes, or 45 percent. Two write-in ballots were cast in that race.
Among the uncontested candidates, Gregory Ritter received 426 votes, or 96 percent of the 446 cast for Position 1. Twenty voters, or 4 percent, cast write-in ballots in that race.
Chuck Hurt Jr. got 444 votes, or 98 percent of the 452 cast for Position 3. Eight voters, or 2 percent, cast write-in ballots.
Cody Childress received 447 votes, or 99 percent of the 453 cast for Position 4. Six voters, or 1 percent, cast write-in ballots.
Louise Kennon got 418 votes, or 94 percent of the 444 cast for Position 5. Twenty-six voters, or 6 percent, cast write-in ballots.
Board members initially elected to the even-numbered positions 2, 4 and 6 will serve one-year terms, while those initially elected to the odd-numbered positions 1, 3, 5 and 7 will serve three-year terms.
But all members subsequently elected, other than those who fill a vacancy, will serve four-year terms.
The members will take office on Dec. 1, following certification of the election results. Annual compensation will be $2,400 for the board members and $3,000 for the board chairman.
Most of the newly elected members attended the Tennessee School Board Association Convention last weekend in Nashville. And they all participated Tuesday night in a Public Forum at the Harvell Civic Center Auditorium to receive “input” regarding their superintendent search.
The Forum was moderated by Dr. Wayne Qualls, who was hired on Nov. 4 by the Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen to assist the school board in that search.
Haley said she was “looking forward” to the Forum, because she believes Qualls can reassure Millington residents that he will do “the best he can” to find the “most qualified” applicant for superintendent.
Carroll said she was expecting “a good turnout” of Millington’s schoolteachers and principals at the Forum.
“I’m excited to be able to present ourselves, not as candidates, but as a board,” she noted, “and to hear from the public, and especially educators, but also community members. If you’re a community member or business owner, you have a stake in that.”
Holsinger expressed hope that the Forum would elicit “some real participation and input” from the teachers and administrators, who would let Qualls know exactly what they want to see in a superintendent.

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