The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s SuccessPAC has released its endorsements for Metro’s upcoming school board election, opting to back both board chair Gracie Porter as well as one of her election challengers.
The school board’s District 5 race was a “difficult decision,” the SuccessPAC’s board chair Darrell Freeman said in an announcement last Friday that gave endorsements to Porter and Elissa Kim, a Teach For America executive who has support among Nashville’s budding charter school community.
The SuccessPAC is the chamber’s political action committee. Endorsements came after candidates filled out questionnaires and participated in interviews. The election, which features five races among the nine-member school board, is set for Aug. 2.
Freeman said Porter has been an “effective leader” who has presided over “focused” meetings. He said she also has a “voting record of taking positions that put the success of our children first.” Freeman said Kim’s “enthusiasm, national experience and absolute dedication to improving student achievement” impressed his committee.
Other District 5 school board candidates are John Haubenreich and Erica Lanier.
In the school board’s District 1 race — which features two sitting board members, Sharon Gentry and Ed Kindall, as a result of last year’s redistricting — the SuccessPAC has endorsed Gentry, a move that was expected. “She consistently asks the tough questions, keeping the best interest of all students as her top priority,” Freeman said.
The SuccessPAC endorsed former Gov. Phil Bredesen aide Will Pinkston in the board’s District 7 race. Pinkston’s opponents are Alan Sharp and Al Wilkins. “Will draws from a wealth of knowledge and experience in education reform at the local, state and national level,” Freeman said.
In the west Nashville District 9 race to replace departing board member Kay Simmons, the chamber’s PAC endorsed Margaret Dolan, a businesswoman who has sat on a number of non-profit boards in Nashville including the United Way of Metropolitan Nashville.
“Margaret Dolan has a truly impressive track record leading the boards of nonprofit organizations in our community and being at the forefront of many, citywide education initiatives,” Freeman said.
Other District 9 candidates are former Metro Councilman Eric Crafton, Bob Bogen, Amy Frogge and Ronnie Osborne.
The chamber endorsed Jarod DeLozier in the race for District 3, which departing board member Mark North currently occupies.
“We believe Jarod’s relationships and his leadership in the community will prove to be a valuable asset to the board,” Freeman said of DeLozier, a businessman who owns East Nashville’s Ugly Mugs coffee shop.
Other district 3 school board candidates are Fred Lee Jr. and Jill Speering.