By Christina Cooke
East Ridge resident Kenny Smith said he wants to serve on the Hamilton County Board of Education to help ensure that students understand their options after they graduate from high school.
“Not everyone is going to college,” Mr. Smith said. “(Those who aren’t) need to know what other options are available so they can make an educated choice.”
Mr. Smith is running in the Aug. 3 election against Randy Gutshall for the District 8 seat currently held by Debbie Colburn. District 8 includes East Ridge and parts of the Brainerd and East Brainerd communities.
The 53-year-old serves as director of the Chattanooga Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Center, a five-year training program for electricians. He said he thinks the technical side of education needs to be represented on the school board.
“In Chattanooga, if we don’t have a trained work force, we’re not going to get new business,” he said.
Mr. Smith said if elected, he plans to build partnerships between the school system and business community.
“I feel like I can pull the government, educational and business groups together in a positive way,” he said. “Nobody gets a lot done on their own. We need to work together.”
One of the biggest problems plaguing the current school board, Mr. Smith said, is its relationship with the Hamilton County Commission. He said he thinks school board members should meet regularly with the county commissioners representing their districts.
Communication “has got to improve,” he said.
Mr. Smith graduated from City High School in 1971 and received a degree in science from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1976. He and his wife, Sammye, have two sons, both in their 20s.
Until August, Mr. Smith said he’ll talk to as many people as possible to find out what they would like to see from the school board.
“I’ve received a lot from the community, and I want to give something back,” he said.
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