Michael Henry, a local entrepreneur, has announced his intention to run for the District 6 seat on the Hamilton County Board of Education.
Henry is running for the seat being vacated by Joe Galloway at the end of his term. Earlier this year, Galloway announced he did not intend to run for re-election. Jenny Hill has also announced her campaign for the seat.
The nonpartisan school board is elected during the general election Aug. 2.
"Since relocating [to Chattanooga], my time spent working in Hamilton County Schools and working as a consultant with entrepreneurs and small businesses has uncovered issues, helping me conceptualize community solutions," Henry said in a statement. "As a school board member, I will focus on creating avenues for our students to embrace the unique opportunities our community has to offer. I will work with my board members and central office to develop programs encouraging students to find their passion and place in the future workforce."
Henry moved to Chattanooga to complete a master's degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Previously, he obtained his bachelor's degree in music from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. While a graduate student in Chattanooga, he worked as a teaching assistant at East Lake Academy of Fine Arts, Brainerd High School and The Howard School through the GEAR UP program, based out of UTC.
GEAR UP is a grant-funded program that works with local middle and high school students to prepare them for college.
Henry's experiences as a teaching assistant and as a member of the local business community fueled his desire to run for the school board seat.
He feels he offers a unique perspective — a business and education mindset — to the board.
"Running for school board combines all of my skill sets and experiences perfectly," Henry said of his work as a local entrepreneur and someone invested in education.
He said his top priorities include ensuring Hamilton County schools produce graduates who are ready for the workforce, combating malnutrition and ensuring all students have access to healthy resources, and increasing communication and accessibility throughout the community.
He is worried about the disconnect between the young businesses and entrepreneurs that Chattanooga attracts and the students that the area's public schools graduate into the workforce.
"It is not a problem yet, but it will be Local businesses are having a hard time recruiting from Hamilton County's workforce," Henry said. "As a school board member, I will focus on creating avenues for our students to embrace the unique opportunities our community has to offer. I will work with my board members and Central Office to develop programs encouraging students to find their passion and place in the future workforce."
The filing deadline for the county general election is April 5.