Slight edge to Horn

Slight edge to Horn

July 26th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

The race for the school board's 7th District seat between former teacher Donna Horn and former teacher and administrator Ralph Miller features two exceptional candidates.

Both Horn and Miller were admired teachers who have been active in the Hamilton County community for decades.

Miller, a lifelong Chattanoogan, has the unique perspective of being both a teacher and an assistant principal. For 17 years, Horn was a special ed teacher, then served as a kindergarten teacher for another decade after that.

If there's one thing that gives Horn a slight advantage, it is that she has more recent experience with the inner workings of the school district. (Horn retired only months ago, while Miller has been retired for a handful of years.)

Because of Horn's recent work in the classroom, she has an intimate knowledge of the failures of the current teacher evaluation process and articulates a number of very reasonable ways to improve the procedure, including better training for administrators making the evaluations.

She also advocates greater accountability for administrators -- even recommending ending the current "administrator for life" system and forcing poorly-performing administrators back to the classroom or out of the school district.

Beyond Horn's qualifications, there is also value in adding an additional female voice to the council, which currently has only two females filling the nine board seats.

In this case, the tie goes to Donna Horn. But voters win either way.