Meet the Candidates

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Due to an overwhelming response for Germantown’s many political candidates we will not be able to publish all of the candidate questionnaires in this week’s edition of the paper. However, we plan to continue our Meet the Candidates coverage for the Nov. 3 municipal election through the month of October. So, stay tuned for more election coverage next week. Candidates who have not yet responded can do so by emailing graham@magicvalleypublishing or lyn@magicvalleypublishing, or by calling 901.433.9138.

Alderman Position 3
• Name: Terri Johnson
Age: 46
Current Occupation: Pharmaceutical sales
Education: University of Mississippi / Murray State University; degrees in Political Science & Philosophy
Family: husband Todd, plus five children & one daughter-in-law (Hayden & wife Sydney, Harrison, Hudson, Alexandra, and Maddox)
Organizations/Groups/Activities:
Past officer, Farmington Elementary PTA Board
Volunteer in Germantown schools
American Heart Association volunteer / team coordinator
Corporate Political Action Committee Advisory Board

  1. List three significant issues in this election.
    Trust / transparency / listening
    Development
    Responsible stewardship of our tax dollars
  2. Specifically, how do you plan to deal with each of these issues, if elected?
    I view the role of Alderman as a direct representative of the citizens of Germantown, which means I should always seek input from our community before voting on important decisions. I will be accessible, honest, and involved in our neighborhoods and businesses, seeking to keep the lines of communication open with everyone involved.
    Our future development must be carefully considered, controlled, and thoughtfully planned with a keen eye to the future. By and large, our citizens enjoy retail and restaurant development, but do not want new apartment buildings – and this must not be ignored. The added strains additional apartments would put on our infrastructure, schools, traffic patterns, and first responders should also be considered. The bottom line is, if our citizens don’t want something, I won’t vote for it. That’s the job.
    We are fortunate to enjoy a high standard of living here in Germantown, but that won’t continue if we neglect the necessities, like infrastructure and drainage. I’m not against “nice to have” things, like The Grove or a new soccer complex, but I don’t believe we should allocate money towards those type of things until we address some of these more pressing, necessary issues. It’s a matter of priorities.
  3. What do you think is the biggest concern facing our community at this time, and why?
    The biggest concern facing our community right now is twofold: Trust in our elected officials, and growth. I hear this every single day when I’m out meeting voters. Because of the way previous projects were conceived, approved, communicated to the public, and then changed, lack of trust here in Germantown is a real issue, and that goes hand-in-hand with how our community grows from here.
    We must restore our community’s confidence in its leaders – and that begins with listening. Our residents want (and deserve to be) heard, and we need to do a better job of ensuring that happens.
  4. What specifically makes you best qualified for the position you are seeking?
    After speaking with thousands of voters, I am confident that my vision for our community is exactly what our citizens want. My message of “leadership that listens” resonates with Germantown residents, and unlike other candidates, my message has not changed. I am not merely someone who is seeking a title; I am someone who wants to make a real difference in the community I love.
    In addition to my years of service in our Germantown schools as a volunteer and PTA board member, I have a long history of advocating for those who feel they don’t have a voice. I’ve advocated for Alzheimer’s patients and their families, the American Heart Association, heart failure patients, and I’ve testified on Capitol Hill regarding my work with the Paycheck Fairness Act, advocating for the women of our nation.
    My experiences make me the only candidate who has a proven record of listening and speaking up for others, and that is what we truly need in our next Alderman.

• Name: Sherrie Hicks
Age: Born in 1965
Current Occupation: Medical Sales
Education: B.S. Marketing, University of Tennessee at Martin
Family: Husband, three sons, 1 daughter-in-law
Organizations/Groups/Activities:
Germantown Education Foundation, Secretary, 2019-Current, Planning Commission, Secretary 2020, 2018-Current, Team Read Volunteer, 2017-2019, Board of Zoning Appeals, 2016-2017, Council of Neighborhood Associations, President 2013-2014, HHS PTSO, Treasurer, 2018-2019, HMS PTA, President, 2016-2017, Dogwood Grove HOA, President, 2010-2013, Planning Commission, 2003-2007, Design Review Commission, 2001-2002, Leadership Germantown, 2000, Poplar Estates HOA, President, Vice President, Member, 1997-2003, Germantown United Methodist Church, member, Germantown Kiwanis, member

  1. List three significant issues in this election.
    Germantown has a rare combination of safety, strong schools and an exceptional quality of life. No other community around us has this unique balance. It is this unbeatable combination that drives our property values up and makes everyone want to live here. We need to stay focused and build upon these qualities.
    1) Safety: We must build upon the safeness of our community. This includes funding fire and police, plus improving our infrastructure, paving our streets, repairing sewers and ensuring proper drainage. All of these impact our first responders’ ability to respond within minutes and allow residents to feel safe in their homes.
    2) Strength of our Schools: GMSD is one of the most highly ranked schools in the state.
    Their success impacts our property values. GMSD must be properly funded so they can constantly improve the education of our children.
    3) Quality of Life in Germantown. There are so many qualities that fall into this category that I can’t possibly list them all. The great neighborhoods, The Germantown Community Theatre, the Germantown Library, our nationally recognized park system and its interconnectivity to our neighbors, youth sports, tennis, pickleball, July 4th Fireworks, Holiday Parade, GPAC, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Stoney River and so much more! All of these are amenities to our community and many of them provide us with needed Sales Tax Revenues that help keep our property taxes low.
  2. Specifically, how do you plan to deal with each of these issues, if elected?
    Safety: Ensuring our budget properly addresses ongoing infrastructure needs and that our first responders are given the tools they need. When the City receives notification from FEMA of a potential change in flood zone status, the notification should be reviewed to help homeowners avoid that designation. Educating our residents on the importance of looking out for neighbors, locking doors, and securing valuables helps keep crime low.
    Strength of our Schools: The City is one piece of GMSD’s funding pie. We must fund GMSD’s needs and help garner support from our community to ensure all residents can participate in making GMSD even greater. This includes letting residents know how they can support all GMSD schools through the Germantown Education Foundation, the PTO’s and other means.
    Quality of Life in Germantown: Many of the features of our quality of life bring in sales tax revenues. With contained, controlled growth we will continue to have the funds to not only fund the safety of our community, the needs of our schools and our quality of life, but we can continue to keep our property taxes low. If elected, I also plan to reduce property taxes if we have improved sales tax revenues.
  3. What do you think is the biggest concern facing our community at this time, and why?
    We must maintain the delicate balance that has made us the most desirable community in the region. Getting to this point was done with careful planning and execution of countless hours of resident-engagements. We are electing three new Alderman on November 3rd. None of the candidates are incumbents, which means a majority of our Alderman will have no experience.
    To ensure Germantown’s continued success, it is imperative that we select Alderman with strong involvement in Germantown’s neighborhoods, schools, and community.
  4. What specifically makes you best qualified for the position you are seeking?
    I am the only candidate who has proven her commitment and desire to improve Germantown by working in our neighborhoods, schools and serving on various boards and commissions in our great city. You can see the titles in my resume, but you can’t see the positive changes from the groups with which I serve. While working with Houston Middle School Parent Teacher Association, our board made changes to improve transparency and increase funding to HMS by 15%/year. In neighborhood roles, I knocked on doors to increase Homeowner Association membership and raised funds to install decorative streets signs. I have coordinated Executive
    Board meetings, neighborhood-wide meetings, fundraisers, and so many other events to bring my neighbors together.
    With over 25 years of civic engagement, voters can be assured that I have the skills and experience to work on behalf of citizens with all members of the Board Of Mayor and Alderman, as well as city staff towards decisions that ensure future generations will enjoy the same great Germantown that we enjoy today.

Alderman Position 4


• Name: John Paul Miles
Age: 33
Current Occupation: Loan Officer, Bank of England Mortgage (Germantown, TN)
Education: Bachelor of Business Adminstration: Marketing, University of Memphis. Bachelor of Arts: History, University of Memphis
Family: Bachelor
Organizations/Groups/ Activities: Kiwanis Germantown, Germantown Knights of Columbus, Leadership Germantown Class of 2020, Houston Lacrosse Coach. I also serve on the Historical and Public Safety Education Commissions for the City of Germantown.

  1. List three significant issues in this election. 1) Overdevelopment, 2) Public Safety, 3) Infrastructure
  2. Specifically, how do you plan to deal with each of these issues, if elected?
    1) Overdevelopment – It is important as Germantown moves forward, that we have controlled measured growth in our city. I am against adding more apartments in Germantown, specifically mixed-use developments with high-population densities. It is important that we address the negative impacts and unintended consequences of mixed-use development with apartments and high-population densities, that will bring to our city. A study the city paid for, the Tischler Bise Study, highlights these findings.
    I also don’t like the thought of six and eight story buildings emerging over the backyards of Germantown residents. Instead of six eand eight story buildings, I would rather see more unique restaurants and shops come into Germantown. I believe controlled measured development is the way forward. 2) Public Safety – When it comes to Public Safety, it is important that Garmantown maintains the same level of funding, training, and selection for our Police, FIre, EMS and other first responders that we currenlty have. As Germantown moves forward, it is important that alderman stay engaged with our community and make sure the same level of public safety is met for our residents. Furthermore, working closely with the Germantown Police Departmetn to find new ways to stop and prevent unwanted criminal activity in Germantown is very important. 3) Infrastructure – We have a broken drainage system in Germantown and roads that need to be repaved. Rather than spending more money on new vanity projects, we should allocate our resources to address these needs. I would like to see more of a focus on addressing these needs from our BMA, as our city moves forward.
  3. What do you think is the biggest concern facing our community at this time, and why?
    Growth. Germantown is landlocked and growth affects so many of the public services our city provides. This means that we must have controlled measured growth in our community. Uncontrolled growth will have unintended consequences.
    We need to make sure that Germantown maintains its small-town charm and quiet residential streets, while also maintaining a vibrant economy. This is what makes Germantown so attractive to new families that want to raise their children here.
  4. What specifically makes you best qualified for the position you are seeking?
    I am the most quailifed candidate for position 4, because I have the most diversity of civic engagement in this race. There are different aspects of our community that I am involved with, and it is very important that we bring people together. I have spent the past several years of my life getting to know Germantown, outside of my church, neighborhood, and social groups. I think this is an important trait for any good leader to have.


• Name: Brian Ueleke
Age: 43
Current Occupation: Corporate Financial Advisor – FedEx Express
Education: BS in Finance, University of Tenneseess & MBA, University of Memphis
Family: Wife Beth and 7 year old twin boys
Organizations/Groups/Activities: Member Germantown United Methodist Church, Chairman of the McVay Counseling Center, Leadership Germantown Class of 2019 – Jim Roberts Leadership Award Winner, Eagle Scout, Dogwood Elementary School PTO

  1. List three significant issues in this election.
    Development,
    COVID-19 Ecomonomic impacts
    Infrastructure
  2. Specifically, how do you plan to deal with each of these issues, if elected?
    Development is the top issue I hear from voters. I want to make sure that we change the conversation around development, bring better analysis and transparency to the table and leverage my experience as a Financial Advisor. My experience presenting complex issues to executives will help the board have a better understanding of proposed impacts. It is imperative that we make good decisions around these proposals as we can not afford to build new schools or infrastructure resulting from poor development choices.
    COVID-19 and its economic impacts are the most urgent need in my opinion. This is where my strong financial background comes into play. I want to work to manage spending responsibly and protect our tax rate while we navigate this uncertainty.
    I want to see a plan put in place to prioritize and address our infrastructure needs. These are very expensive projects that will need long term solutions. I want to see the city pursue funding from federal sources and grants to help address the challenges presented by these needs.
  3. What do you think is the biggest concern facing our community at this time, and why?
    While I feel like Development is a very important topic, I feel that the risk we need to actively manage is COVID-19’s economic impact on the community. We have seen some major fluctuations in sales tax revenues in our community. While trends have been positive recently, long term impacts on our small businesses are starting to show up more and more. I think we need to maintain a conservative approach to spending so that we can address the immediate needs of our schools and public safety while protecting our tax rate in times of economic uncertainty.
  4. What specifically makes you best qualified for the position you are seeking?
    I have a Finance degree from the University of Tennessee, an MBA from the University of Memphis and 17 years of Finance experience at FedEx. At FedEx I have been involved in facility, equipment and vehicle purchases. I have led the budgeting of over a half billion dollars of spending and presented projects to executive leadership helping them to prioritize the spending of limited resources. I see all of these as very applicable to the daily operations of our city. In addition to my professional experience, I bring the perspective of a husband, father and son who sees and understands the needs of multiple generations that call Germantown home.

Alderman Position 5
• Name: Jon McCreery
President of local construction company
Education: Graduated Germantown HS
Graduated University of Tennessee with a degree is Business/Economics
Family: Married to Wife, Donna. 4 Sons
Organizations/Groups/Activities: Member Hope Presbyterian Church, Past Chairman of Planning commission Memphis and Shelby County ( member 14 years, Chairman for 7 ), Past Chairman of the Germantown Youth Athletic Assn. ( member 7 years, Chairman 5 years ) Director, First Capital Bank-Headquartered in Germantown.

  1. List three significant issues in this election.
    Public Safety, Schools continuing to be #1 in the state with a plan for future CIP projects and inherited deferred maintenance. How our remaining larger land parcels are to be developed, a short term and long term plan for infrastructure repair and maintenance and the funding for future improvements.
  2. Specifically, how do you plan to deal with each of these issues, if elected?
    Public safety- continue to support and fund our fire and police and give them the best people and the best tools to continue to enhance response times which are in the top tier nationally. Schools-we want to continue to be #1 in the state. While the state funds the daily operations of the school system, The mayor and Board need to work closely with the Germantown Municipal School District for additional funding for CIP projects, shortfalls and give them what they need to allow our children to get the best education available. Have the goal of being #1 in the nation, not just the state. We MUST get the Houston Middle School expansion funded and completed. I would like to see us restart the joint meeting between the Mayor and Board and the School Board. They used to meet and that need to be re-started as negotiating face to face gets things done. Development and infrastructure- There is great concern as to how our remaining open available land is going to be developed as we move forward. I would propose a long-term land plan that will identify our larger land parcels and create a plan for how those future neighborhoods and parks are to be developed. A long-term plan will assist in transparency and help us understand how our citizens want things to look in 5 years, 10 years and 20 years. This will also ensure to our citizens that decisions about development are not being made too quickly and that the process is transparent, and they are included. The negativity and divide about how Germantown develops in the future can be improved. We need that today as that is one of our most divisive issues in our community. As we develop, we need to look at our existing and future infrastructure and have a plan in place for short term and long term maintenance and replacement as well as the funding of the same. We know we have issues so we need to get out in front of those issues and have a short term and long term plan in place to be proactive and not chase the issue.
  3. What do you think is the biggest concern facing our community at this time, and why?
    Since your question is specific to “at this time” meaning today, it is covid-19. We are in unfamiliar territory. Nobody knows what lays ahead. Covid may have an impact that we don’t fully understand yet. If this does not get resolved rather quickly, we have the potential for vacancy rates in our commercial properties to increase and businesses to close down. We could see the impact of future foreclosures if jobs continue to be lost. This will impact our budget with loss of sales tax revenue and possibly lower property tax revenue collections. We need to be prepared and fluid in how to deal with this. We need to look at our cost side of the budget and make sure we are watching every penny that leaves while being creative in how to stabilize sales tax. I’d like to see us invest in a marketing program to encourage people to dine, shop and play in Germantown to make sure we support our business’s and help them succeed. We have to make sure our sales tax revenue continues to flow as that tax is at a higher rate than property taxes and we do NOT want the burden of the citys budget to fall on our local property owners.
    My 50 + years of living, volunteering, and working in Germantown has given me a perspective that my opponent does not have. I know where Germantown was, and where it is, and I understand our needs for the future.
  4. What specifically makes you best qualified for the position you are seeking?
    I am a business owner, entrepreneur, partner and CEO and have been in business for myself for over 40 years. I have spent a lifetime solving problems, and finding solutions, working with people in the private and public arenas and have prepared for this role my entire life. I have the ability to bring people together. If you refer to the Daily Memphian artice written on me, when I left Memphis and Shelby County Planning Commission in april of 2019, it talks about my ability to bring people together. I know I can do that now. We need that right now.
    We need to bring our residents and community together. We need to work together to listen to the citizens and to be the best in every category. I’ll rely on my business experience and past volunteering in Germantown to benefit our residents and community. I am my own man and not afraid to make unpopular decisions. The only people that will influence my votes are the citizens of Germantown. I want us to be the best in every category, and develop a culture of excellence, transparency, sustainability, and fiscal responsibility. My history and experience makes me the best candidate to humbly and honorably serve and give back for Germantown Alderman Position 5.

• Name: Brandon Musso
Age: 40
Current Occupation: Operations Manager (McKesson)
Education: Christian Brothers University
Family: Wife = Liz.
2 children = Braxton (8) and Sloane (5)
Organizations/Groups/Activities:
Author of TN Transportation Legislation. Sponsored by Rep. Mark Norris & Rep. Karen Camper. Legislation funded & passed May 2018; Signed by Governor & assigned Public Chapter Number 952 by Secretary of State.
Member of Regional Logistics Council & Regional Transportation Committee
Member of the Transportation Funding Equity Subcommittee.
Past National Alumni Board Member of Christian Brothers University.
Past Board Member of Germantown Great Hall Commission.
Member of Epicenter Logistics Advisory Council.

  1. List three significant issues in this election.
    Confidence in Government
    Residents having a voice
    Schools
  2. Specifically, how do you plan to deal with each of these issues, if elected?
    I work for the people of Germantown – I will listen and be a voice = That’s the job. I always say, I have 2 ears and big heart. We must have people on the BMA who CARE about the people!!
    Transparency & Change Management – As a resident, I expect and demand that the city’s leadership is transparent and communicates with us regarding future decisions that shape our children’s learning, our safety, and things that could affect our home values. We must have open communication, and we must work hand-in-hand with the school board.
    WE ABSOLUTELY MUST WORK WITH THE SCHOOL BOARD (It’s unreal that the BMA & School Board have not met in years!!!)
  3. What do you think is the biggest concern facing our community at this time, and why?
    The division amongst the people in Germantown is big and it’s disappointing. Our unique, charming, small town has a very big problem. Yes, we have tremendous decisions to be made for the future of our City – – – but we are a community divided and being controlled by the current BMA, along with developers that have visions (or pockets) that do not align with the best interest of the people.
    As I talk to Germantown residents about local politics, I am continually shocked at how many people are angry about the current administration’s lack of transparency – people are not blind; they see through all of this. It’s time to fix this, and restore the community’s confidence in our leaders.
  4. What specifically makes you best qualified for the position you are seeking?
    I want to do what is right and be a voice for my neighbors. I have 2 ears and a big heart, and I feel like that’s exactly what our community needs. I am a property owner, a husband, and a dad; my wonderful children attend Germantown Municipal Schools. I have every reason to protect our small-town, safe environment, and that’s what I’ll do. What you see is what you get with me, and you will never have to worry about whether or not I have YOUR best interests in mind.

Germantown Municipal School Board Position 1

• Name: Ryan Strain
Age: 37
Current Occupation: Attorney
Education: B.A., University of Memphis; J.D., Vanderbilt University Law School
Family: Married, with three sons (ages 7, 5, and 3).
Organizations/Groups/Activities: Dogwood Elementary School PTO (current board member); Operation Broken Silence (current Board Secretary); Leadership Germantown (Class of 2019); City of Germantown Historic Commission (2018 – 2019); Member of First Evangelical Church

  1. List three significant issues in this election.
    (1) Support for public education (funding and otherwise) is a significant issue in all elections this year – local, state, and federal.
    (2) How best to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic (including the pandemic’s effects on education) is another significant issue at all levels of government.
    (3) At the local level, many citizens believe it is important to elect men and women who will establish a better working relationship between the Board of Mayor and Alderman and the Board of Education.
  2. Specifically, how do you plan to deal with each of these issues, if elected?
    Regarding support and funding for public education, I will communicate clearly and effectively the District’s needs and opportunities to all our local and state representatives so that GMSD continues to provide the high-quality education our community expects and children deserve. I also will work to involve the community in the District’s initiatives.
    Regarding the pandemic’s effects on public education, I will work to fashion policies that continue to prioritize student and teacher health while providing the most effective instruction possible.
    As for a better working relationship between the Board of Mayor and Alderman and the Board of Education, I will do my best to build relationships between members of each Board, communicate, and meet when needed.
  3. What do you think is the biggest concern facing our community at this time, and why?
    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s unprecedented interruption of all aspects of life, I believe the most significant concern facing our community at this time is how to best manage the pandemic’s effects on citizens’ health, our school system, and the economy.
  4. What specifically makes you best qualified for the position you are seeking?
    As a lawyer, I advocate on behalf of others, communicate ideas clearly and persuasively, and, when in my clients’ interest, negotiate with opposing parties to achieve the best possible result for my clients. I will use these skills to advance the interests of all Germantown students to help them reach their full potential.

Germantown Municipal School Board Position 3

• Name: Brian Curry
Age: 44
Current Occupation: Process Improvement Advisor – FedEx
Education: BSBA, University of Arkansas
Family: Wife – Kristi, Daughters – Caroline and Linley
Organizations/Groups/Activities:
Forest Hill Elementary PTO – Legislative Chairman
Farmington Presbyterian Day School Board – Community Advisor

  1. List three significant issues in this election.
    Facility needs for our schools
    Ensure we are looking out for the whole child
    Dealing with the ongoing COVID pandemic and impacts.
  2. Specifically, how do you plan to deal with each of these issues, if elected?
    For facility needs, we have to work with our Board of Mayor and Aldermen in order to make sure the funding is prioritized for our most critical needs. There needs to be regular meetings between the School Board and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. These two legislative groups are working towards the same goals. The School Board needs to work proactively with the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to ensure any impacts from development are planned for, with regards to capacity in our schools. We want to avoid overcrowding in our schools.
    The next item is looking out for the whole child. This is considering the social and emotional needs of the children. There are children that have had their worlds turned upside-down in this pandemic. You cannot have academic achievement if our children are not in a good place with their social and emotional needs. We need all hands on deck to solve this issue. This isn’t limited to Germantown, but we need to address it as best as we can on the local level. I want us to engage our community partners and ensure we have the resources to tackle this. Getting the children back in school will help, but these are long-term concerns.
    Finally, we need to work towards getting our children back in school as soon and as safely as possible. If students wish to continue virtually this year, we need to accommodate this. The middle and high school students that are doing the hybrid schedule need to be back in school full-time. This is contributing to some of the emotional issues listed above. Shelby County has different rules than what the rest of the state has and we need to have the same options with our schools, as are available in the rest of the state.
  3. What do you think is the biggest concern facing our community at this time, and why?
    From a school standpoint, it’s the COVID pandemic and the impacts on our children. They have been completely disrupted and not only is it causing issues from a social and emotional standpoint, just dealing with it all, but it’s impacting academics. This is most noticeable at the middle and high school levels, with the hybrid schedules and not being in school full-time. The virtual option seems to be working for many, but we cannot discount the challenges faced there, also.
  4. What specifically makes you best qualified for the position you are seeking?
    Being a parent of two children at separate schools, I have my finger on the pulse of what is going on in the schools. My oldest daughter is dealing with hybrid learning and I have seen first-hand how this has impacted her. From internet service disruptions to help not being available when needed, I have seen how this year is impacting her and know my experiences are shared by many parents across the district.
    I’m currently serving on the PTO Board at Forest Hill Elementary. I’m involved in our schools and have the perspective of how important our PTO’s are to the district. Being currently involved in our schools is an important distinction.
    Finally, I have a very unique business background that consists of management and training on a global scale. I currently work with policy and procedures, which is a key responsibility of our School Board. My international experience is unparalleled among our elected officials. This demonstrates my ability to work with people from all backgrounds, in order to achieve our goals.
    Our School Board has an educator, a sales and marketing professional, a former PTA President and an attorney (running unopposed). The operations perspective is not represented on our School Board. I bring this perspective to the table. A strong board has a diversity of opinion.

Germantown Municipal School Board Position 3

• Name: Scott Williams
Age: 50
Current Occupation: Attorney (FedEx Express) and Adjunct Professor (CBU Business School)
Education: B.S. Biology and American Government (Erskine College); M.Ed. Science Education (University of Georgia); J.D. (Baylor University School of Law); Certificate – Program on Negotiation (Harvard Law School)
Family: Natalie (spouse), Nate (13) and Noah (12)
Organizations/Groups/ Activities: Leadership Germantown (Class of 2017); Leadership Germantown Board of Directors (2017 – 2020); Germantown Personnel Advisory Commission, Chairman (2013 -2016); Germantown Education Commission (2017 – 2019)

  1. List three significant issues in this election.
  2. Specifically, how do you plan to deal with each of these issues, if elected?
    The COVID-19 pandemic is the top issue facing public education. Whether it is dealing with the technical challenges of remote instruction or the potential funding impact of reduced enrollment or the effect on student learning from several months of virtual learning or the need to change student testing and teacher evaluation programs, COVID-related concerns will remain important in the near term.
    GMSD will need to make strategic investments in programs and initiatives to remediate declines in mastery when in-person instruction resumes (which everyone is hopeful will be soon). The district must also work closely with legislators in Nashville to eliminate student testing (and teacher evaluations based on those tests) for 2021. The COVID pandemic has altered instruction and learning in 2 school years; it is not fair to evaluate student learning and teacher effectiveness in these circumstances.
    GMSD must also build a coalition with other school districts around the state to establish a moratorium on state funding reductions next school year as a result of COVID-related enrollment declines this school year.
    Germantown is projected to exceed its middle school classroom capacity in the next few years. The district needs to begin working on a new classroom wing at Houston Middle School and will need to collaborate with the City of Germantown to fund the project. GMSD’s concerns about new residential development in the City and its impacts on capacity and enrollment must be shared with the City clearly, effectively, and often. The School Board needs to help the City understand the significant value of an investment in school facilities to the City and its citizens. Doing what’s best for our students is doing what’s best for our community.
    GMSD has done a tremendous job recruiting high quality teachers who are either new to the profession or new to GMSD.
    Our most powerful tool for maximizing positive educational outcomes for students is making sure that we have the highest quality teachers in every classroom.
    There is a growing trend of more seasoned and experienced teachers leaving the district for higher compensation in other nearby school districts. We need to review and restructure our teacher pay scale to ensure we are not only recruiting the highest quality teachers but also retaining those teachers as they gain more experience in the classroom.
  3. What do you think is the biggest concern facing our community at this time, and why?
    Although GMSD has a good relationship with the City of Germantown/Board of Mayor and Alderman (BMA), we must continue to work collaboratively to improve that relationship. Building and maintaining that relationship requires a concerted and unified effort by the School Board to influence City decisions that impact school operations. GMSD is an important stakeholder in many decisions made by the City, e.g., approval of new residential development and capital spending and investment by the City. The School Board must meet with City Commissions, City Staff, and the BMA to share the districts concerns, interests, and needs so that the City and the district are aligned on how we can work together to do what’s best for our community.
  4. What specifically makes you best qualified for the position you are seeking?
    First and foremost, I am an educator. I am a former public school teacher and I am currently an adjunct professor in Christian Brothers University’s Master of Business Administration program.
    I have been responsible and accountable for student learning, mastery, and achievement. That perspective is critical for School Board Members to set the strategic direction of the district and to balance spending and investment priorities across programs.
    I’ve spent my entire legal and business career focused on building the kind of relationships needed to solve complex problems with collaboration and cooperation.
    I’ve learned that business success is not achieved through wielding power and authority but rather through building and exerting influence. I teach my MBA students at CBU that influence across organizations and coalitions with sometimes divergent goals, interests, and priorities is their most powerful tool for success. This precisely the skill set that School Board Members need most.
    I’m lucky to be the dad of 2 special needs students at Riverdale Elementary School. There is no better advocate for students than the parent of a special needs child. I will advocate for all the students of our district just like I’ve advocated for my own children. School Board Members must always act in the best interest of students; when we do what’s best for our children, we are doing what’s best for our community.
    I’m the only Riverdale parent on the ballot in November and, if elected, I would be the only Riverdale parent on the School Board. Although School Board Members represent all students, teachers, and parents of Germantown, Riverdale is the only K-8 school in GMSD. Riverdale students, teachers, and parents have unique needs, issues, and concerns that must be heard. I will bring the experiences and perspectives of a Riverdale parent to the School Board that none of the current Board Members and none of the other candidates can bring to the table.

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