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Photo contributed by Ben Connor | Pictured is North Chattanooga resident and parent Ben Connor, who announced his campaign for school board Friday, Nov. 12, 2021.

Ben Connor, a North Chattanooga resident and parent, announced his campaign for the District 6 seat on the Hamilton County Board of Education in a Friday news release.

The district includes students in North Chattanooga, Hill City and Lupton City.

Connor has four daughters, two of whom attend Hamilton County schools, according to the release. He said he decided to run for the seat after working with parents and teachers at his daughter's schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I have seen the incredible impact that quality public education can have on children, families and communities," Connor said in the release. "When kids grow and thrive in a nurturing learning environment, the entire community prospers. Now, more than ever, we need leaders that understand the value of great schools — and will work every day to make sure ours are the best."

Connor is president and chief consultant of Connor Consulting Firm and chair of the board at Northside Learning Center, a child care center in North Chattanooga, according to his LinkedIn profile. He is also a member of Normal Park SPARK, a funding organization for Normal Park Museum Magnet school.

"Each and every school in our community should be equipped with the tools and personnel to help kids realize their full potential. My goal as a member of the Hamilton County school board would be to ensure that every child in Hamilton County, regardless of where they live, has the tools, support and encouragement they need to achieve their dreams — I believe in our potential, and that's why I am running for Hamilton County school board," Connor said.

This summer, amid conversations about the shortage of school resource officers in Hamilton County Schools, Connor told the Times Free Press that there needed to be more SROs or school security officers placed in schools, after he found out the school his children attend did not have one.

"Every child needs to be able to learn in a safe school and feel safe and at the end of the day, the elected officials that we have have the funds, the money's there, it's already been allocated, it's just not being used properly to give the kids the safety that they need," Connor said in the July interview.

The area is currently represented by board member Jenny Hill, who is also a member of the Chattanooga City Council. When she ran for council last year, she said she intended to serve out her school board term and "work closely with constituents to identify a strong replacement" when her term ended.

Contact Anika Chaturvedi at achaturvedi@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592.

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