Meet the District 2 school board candidates

Meet the District 2 school board candidates

July 11th, 2012 in Local Regional News

Early voting for the Aug. 2 state primary and county general election begins Friday, July 13 and runs until Saturday, July 28.

Among the positions up for grabs is District 2 representative on the Hamilton County school board, and two Signal Mountain residents are seeking the post. Local dentist Jonathan Welch is up against write-in candidate Mike Harvey, and both agreed to answer a few questions intended to help voters get to know them and their goals for District 2 schools.

Jonathan Welch

Q. What do you feel qualifies you to serve as a school board representative?

A. I have a broad experience in education, business and community involvement from which to draw. Having been through dental school I value education and understand the importance that K-12 education has on lifelong learning. I have served on both the Founders Fund and Mountain Education Fund boards, which gave me insight into how the county opens schools and provides for them. With my small business I am always aware of budgets and the importance of maintaining and prioritizing needs within that budget.

Q. Do you now or have you ever had a child enrolled in a District 2 school?

A. I have three children enrolled at Thrasher Elementary next year; in kindergarten, first and third grades.

Q. Have you ever volunteered in a local public school? If so, in which school, for how many hours and what did you do?

A. I have volunteered at Nolan, Thrasher and Red Bank elementaries. At Nolan and Red Bank I spoke with the kindergarten students regarding dental health month. At Thrasher I have volunteered in my children's kindergarten classes helping with reading skills.

Q. What goals do you hope to accomplish if elected?

A. The community needs to know when decisions are coming up to voice input. Broadly we need to make sure resources available in the budget are making a direct impact in the classroom and decisions made focus on the student's best interest. We need to promote programs that are proven to work and prepare our students for whatever career they choose to pursue. To fully educate our children we need to make sure that they are exposed to the arts and can pursue them as far as they choose. [I want to] emphasize many of the positive things occurring in our schools. Our students and teachers work hard and when that work leads to achievement we should celebrate.

Q. What is your plan of action to accomplish the aforementioned goals?

A. Educating myself on the needs of individual schools and communication with fellow board members and the County Commission are the broad ways to accomplish these goals. It will take collaboration with other board members with the focus maintained on the students to achieve any goal.

Mike Harvey (WRITE-IN CANDIDATE)

Q. What do you feel qualifies you to serve as a school board representative?

A. I have experience serving on numerous boards for the last 31 years. I was appointed by the governor to serve a four-year term on the Tennessee Board of Nursing. I have served on the board of the Tennessee Association of Nurse Anesthetists as well as serving on various medical and hospital boards. I have also served on a church finance board. I am also a clinical instructor with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga School of Anesthesia.

Q. Do you now or have you ever had a child enrolled in a District 2 school?

A. I have two sons, Cody and Taylor, educated in District 2 schools for the entirety of their educational years. I attended District 2 schools in my elementary, middle and high school years and graduated from Red Bank High School.

Q. Have you ever volunteered in a local public school? If so, in which school, for how many hours and what did you do?

A. I have volunteered throughout my children's tenure in the public school system. I continue to serve on the SMHS football committee as the community PR coordinator as well as on the homecoming committee along with my wife, Yvonne. I presented a program at RBHS for career day, and also volunteered at career day at elementary schools in District 2. I served on the Founders Fund committee and on the special needs planning committee for SMMHS. My wife and I are currently volunteering on the planning team sponsored by the Knights of Columbus to raise money that will be donated to the Hamilton County Department of Education for special needs classes. I am a contributor to the Mountain Education Foundation.

Q. What goals do you hope to accomplish if elected?

A. A few of my goals I wish to see accomplished are to re-establish trust in the public school system, help balance the budget, support a strong School Resource Officer program, promote effective and qualified teachers and staff, encourage parent involvement and communicate openly with every school, parent, student and staff member.

Q. What is your plan of action to accomplish the aforementioned goals?

A. The best way to achieve these goals is to work closely with the HCDE staff and school board. I will make myself available to listen to every parent, student and staff member's concerns and issues.