published Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Hamilton County to pick school board member today

Hamilton County School Board member Everett Fairchild listens during a meeting in this file photo. Fairchild is stepping down from the board due to health reasons.
Hamilton County School Board member Everett Fairchild listens during a meeting in this file photo. Fairchild is stepping down from the board due to health reasons.
Photo by John Rawlston.

IF YOU GO

What: Hamilton County Commission meeting

Where: County Courthouse, 625 Georgia Ave., Fourth Floor commission meeting room

Time: 9:30 a.m. today

DISTRICT 3 SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES

• Mendi Catlett

• David Lawrence Cowan

• Charles Leslie Elliott

• James S. Goebel

• Mary B. Lewis

• Greg Martin

• Laurie Shipley

• Joe Smith

• Ken Smith

• Joy Ward

• Tammy Bishop Zumbrun

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For the next five months, the areas of Hixson and Middle Valley in Hamilton County's District 3 will be represented by two people they didn't elect.

County commissioners are expected today to appoint a school board member to serve out the two remaining years in the term of Everett Fairchild, who resigned March 15 for health reasons. Fairchild was a longtime Hixson teacher and principal.

Eleven candidates applied for the appointment, including at least four former educators. School board positions are non-partisan.

The school board appointment is the second one that commissioners have made to District 3 in the past two years.

Last January, the body appointed Middle Valley Church of God Pastor Mitch McClure, a Republican, as an interim commissioner to fill a seat vacated when Commissioner Jim Coppinger was named county mayor. McClure recently lost the March 6 Republican primary in his attempt to finish out Coppinger's term, which ends in 2014.

A special election is being held for that seat in August, with Democrat Mitzi Yates facing Republican Marty Haynes.

Commissioner Tim Boyd, who represents East Ridge and parts of Brainerd, said multiple school board candidates who interviewed with him asked if he would fall in line and vote for whoever McClure nominates.

But McClure's loss in the primary sent a message, Boyd said.

"The people of District 3 have spoken," he said. "They said, 'You made a mistake, don't make any more mistakes.'"

Though Boyd wouldn't disclose his choice, he said he used a numerical evaluation process that yielded a clear winner.

Other commissioners are also holding their picks close to their chests.

McClure said he'd interviewed candidates, including some twice, but declined to say who he'd nominate.

"I'm going to probably be talking to Mr. Fairchild again," McClure said.

Fairchild, when reached Wednesday by phone, said he's advocated no one to fill his seat.

"I'm not going to get involved," he said.

Commissioner Fred Skillern said last week that he would be voting for someone with a business background. Boyd echoed that sentiment Wednesday, saying an ability to scour a budget is important as the schools and county approach budget season.

Boyd said he was looking for someone who would focus on central office.

"How many millions of dollars can we save by asking the right questions?" he said.

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about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

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