By Christina Cooke
Ooltewah resident Kelvin Stamper said that as a parent of two daughters in the Hamilton County Schools system, he feels called to serve on the Board of Education.
“When I look at the makeup of the current school board, I see very few people with small children,” Mr. Stamper said. “If parents in this community continue to let other people make decisions, we’re going to continue getting what we’re getting. It’s time for somebody to stand up and say, ‘Enough!’”
Mr. Stamper announced he will run for the school board’s District 9 seat in the Aug. 3 election. He will challenge Chester Bankston for the spot now held by Marty Puryear, who is not running again.
Mr. Stamper said his experience managing $60 million in accounts for the BASF Corp. chemical company in Dalton, Ga., would help him administer the school system’s tight budget.
“I am constantly balancing the needs of my customer versus the needs of my company, and I have to make sure everybody wins,” he said. “It’s the same with the school board,” though the job involves balancing the needs of the taxpayers versus those of the children, Mr. Stamper said.
One of his top priorities as school board representative would be to ensure the board is held financially accountable and works to eliminate waste, he said. He said he also will focus on updating school facilities, especially those in District 9, which he described as “bursting at the seams.”
Finally, the candidate said he’ll work to promote math and science education. The district is not graduating enough math and science students to replace people who are retiring, he said.
Mr. Stamper said members of the current school board have not done a good enough job communicating with each other, county commissioners, parents or teachers. To help fix the problem, he said he’d be willing to keep a blog to inform the community about school board issues.
“You can’t over-communicate,” he said.
Mr. Stamper graduated from Tyner High in 1981 and received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1987. He and his wife, Jessica, have two daughters, Kate, 10, and Beth, 8, who attend Apison Elementary.
Mr. Stamper said he plans to spend the summer talking to community members.
“I hope that I am intelligent enough to know I don’t know everything,” he said. “I’m willing to ask questions, I’m willing to listen. All I am is willing to serve.”
E-mail Christina Cooke at email@example.com
ON THE WEB
For more information about Kelvin Stamper, visit electkelvinstamper.com.
Early voting for Hamilton County Board of Education seats will take place July 14-19. The general election will be held Aug. 3.