Meet the Knox County School Board candidates

Meet the Knox County School Board candidates

6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - This year’s school board has been one of the more heated contests in recent years. Twelve candidates are running for four contested seats in the primary election on May 6.

The school board primaries are non-partisan and each candidate must receive at least 50 percent plus one extra vote to win. Every race, with the exception of District 7, has multiple candidates. If necessary, the top two finishers of each race will continue on to the general election on Aug 7.

In District 1, incumbent Gloria Deathridge is running against Marshall Walker, a retired Knox County School social worker and Robert Boyd, an English professor at Pellissippi State Community College.

In District 4, incumbent and board chair Lynne Fugate is battling to keep her seat against Sally Absher, a geologist and J. Scott Clark, a flight instructor.

The race in District 6 finds four people vying to fill Thomas Deakins’ seat who opted not to run for a third term. Sandra Rowclife is president of Knox County Council PTA. Brad Buchanan is a former teacher and his wife currently works at Amherst Elementary. Candidate Terry Hill worked as a social worker and Lead Consultant for more than 30 years in the Knox County School system. Tamara Shepherd is a former accountant and community member.

Kindergarten teacher Patti Lou Bounds is running unopposed in District 7. She will replace Kim Severance who is not running for a second term.

In District 9, incumbent Pam Trainor is facing off against newcomer Amber Rountree. Rountree, a librarian at Halls Elementary and Trainor, a longtime PTA volunteer are in a heated race to represent the district that includes schools in the south corner of the county. Rountree has spoken out at school board meetings several times over the last several months and has been vocal about her criticism of superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre and the current board.

6 News reached out to each of the candidates to film brief prepared statement about their desire to run and to discuss the top issues of their campaign. Some candidates were unable to make time for the interviews.

District 1

Robert Boyd

Robert Boyd, 80, is a professor at Pellissippi State Community College.

Top issues: improving teacher moral and improving ACT scores at Austin East High school.

Marshall Walker

Marshall Walker, 65, is a retired KCS social worker.

Top issues: Addressing teacher evaluations and giving a voice to the people of District 1.

Gloria Deathridge

Gloria Deathridge, 61, is a realtor and current Knox County Board of Education member.

Top issues: Continuing to work to improve student achievement, parental and community involve, early literacy, communication, teachers’ pay and professional development.


District 4

Sally Absher

Sally Absher, 55, is a geologist and public information specialist.

Top issues: improve teacher evaluations and provide transparency and better communication of the needs of students with the community


J. Scott Clark

J. Scott Clark, 50, is a flight instructor.

Lynne Fugate

Lynne Fugate, 52, is a market executive for SmartBank and current chair of Knox County Schools Board of Education

Top issues: I want every child in this community to have the kind of education that prepares them to pursue their dreams. I want our school system to provide our students with an education that prepares them for the jobs of the future so that Knox County can continue to thrive and prosper.


District 6

Brad Buchanan

Brad Buchanan, 40, is a senior systems architect for a local company and former teacher.

Top issues: Improve representation for teachers on the BOE, improve communication between the BOE and the community


Terry Hill

Terry Hill, 63, retired Knox County Schools social worker and Lead Consultant.

Top issues: be a good steward of county tax dollars and generate more revenue that goes to the classroom, addressing middle school concern in District 6, restoring a health school climate.


Sandra Rowcliffe

Sandra Rowcliffe, 50, president of Knox County Council PTA.

Top issues: expand investments in technology, a middle school solution in District 6, restoring the relationship and trust between education stakeholders


Tamara Shepherd

Tamara Shepherd, 55, former accountant and community member.

Top issues: Repair teacher evaluation mode and retain local control for schools


District 7

Patti Lou Bounds

Patti Lou Bounds is a kindergarten teacher at Brickey-McCloud Elementary.

Top Issues: act as a voice for students, school employees and parents in District 7


District 9

Pam Trainor

Pam Trainor, 51, is a business owner and current Knox County Board of Education member.

Top issues: continue to improve technology across the district, continue to improve involvement and engagement of parents and the community


Amber Rountree

Amber Rountree, 32, is a librarian at Halls Elementary School.

Top issues: put students first, encourage parental involvement, treat teachers as professionals, and make sound financial decisions.


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