Council appoints school board member

Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 7:28pm
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Kay Simmons will represent District 9 on the Metro Board of Education until the regular election to fill the seat next year. Photo by Jude Ferrara/The City Paper

Kay Simmons became the newest Metro Schools board of education member Tuesday, when she was appointed to the vacant District 9 seat by a majority Metro Council vote.

Simmons will serve until next year’s regular school board election. The public education activist will fill the term of Alan Coverstone, who resigned to become the new overseer of the school district’s charter schools policy.

Simmons garnered 29 votes, while second-place finisher Elizabeth Merkel earned nine.

“I have spent my life in various aspects of education in Nashville,” said Simmons, who worked in education for 35 years. “I have an appreciation for how complicated the issues are.”

Council selected Simmons from a field of seven candidates. Paul Brenner, Rich Haglund, Martin Kennedy, Michael La Haie and Julie Lamb also entered their names for consideration, but none received any votes.

Simmons has worked over the years in positions including executive director of the Nashville Alliance for Public Education and director of instructional advancement at Montgomery Bell Academy.

 “I think my experience has taught me to look objectively, at everything,” Simmons said. “The truth is that … there’s not an urban school district across the country that’s succeeding. We do need to look at different things. Nobody has the answer. My guess is that we won’t find the silver bullet either, but we need to peck away.”

View Simmons’ full resume here, as well as the letter she wrote to Council members asking for their consideration.