published Saturday, March 17th, 2012

School board member to run for state Senate

Personal Glance

Name: David Testerman

Marital: Divorced with four adult children

Age: 61

Education: Bachelor's degree in graduate theology from Tennessee Temple University; master's degrees in curriculum and instruction and in administration supervision from Tennessee Technical University.

Experience: Principal for a variety of schools, including Westview, White Oak and Ganns Middle Valley elementary schools, Bachman Academy and Sale Creek School from 1983 to 2006; assistant principal for East Ridge High School 2006-07; current Hamilton County school board member.

Contact: 423-322-0584 or

David Testerman, a Democrat with a longtime career in education, has announced he will run for the state District 10 Senate seat.

That seat now is held by Democrat Andy Berke, who announced he won't seek re-election but is considering running for mayor of Chattanooga in 2013.

Testerman joined the Hamilton County Board of Education two years ago after retiring as assistant principal of East Ridge High School in 2007.

"I am dedicated to public service and always have been," he said. "My politics have always been local. I think there are some issues going on in the state legislative body and I could provide some experiential knowledge."

He said he could provide a voice in issues that affect educators.

"I hate to see public education get such bad reviews. I think we've got to change that perception that there are a lot of bad teachers out there," he said.

When Testerman was a student, graduates didn't have to worry about finding a job after finishing high school, he said, but now the opposite is true.

"Kids have lost hope in what our communities are able to offer," he said.

Testerman's career as an educator has put him in the "public arena," said Paul Smith, Hamilton County Democratic Party spokesman, and that could pave the road to a successful campaign.

"Education is one of the highest expenditures in government today," Smith said. "He's familiar with how schools function and with the law."

Earlier this year, the General Assembly redrew legislative boundaries as part of the redistricting process. Now, District 10 is split between Hamilton and Bradley counties and leans Republican.

Republicans Greg Vital and Todd Gardenhire also have entered the District 10 Senate race.

"If we have quality people, voters will vote no matter where the districts are," Smith said. "We're always happy when someone steps forward to take a leadership role."

Testerman acknowledged the challenge ahead, both with the district and in fundraising.

"I'm not a wealthy man, so I've got to get busy and raise some money," he said. "It will be a difficult district, but I'm going to work hard."

about Kevin Hardy...

Kevin rejoined the Times Free Press in August 2011 as the Southeast Tennessee K-12 education reporter. He worked as an intern in 2009, covering the communities of Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Collegedale and Lookout Mountain, Tenn. A native Kansan, Kevin graduated with bachelor's degrees in journalism and sociology from the University of Kansas. After graduating, he worked as an education reporter in Hutchinson, Kan., for a year before coming back to Chattanooga. Honors include a ...

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