Have you previously run for or held a position in public office? No
ADDRESS: 7110 Pleasant Grove Court, Fairview, TN 37062
OCCUPATION: Vice President, Ambulatory Anesthesia at AMSURG
EDUCATION: Masters Degree in Business Administration from Lipscomb University
FAMILY: Husband of 16 years (Andy Durham); Children: Carter (11 – 7th grade at Fairview Middle School) and Reese (9 – 5th grade at Fairview Elementary School)
COMMUNITY/CIVIC AFFILIATIONS: Board of Directors – Crosspoint Community Church
1) Why did you decide to run for this office? My husband and I are 100 percent invested in this community and have positioned ourselves to be permanent residents of the Fairview community in Williamson County. I am running for this office because I believe I can provide sound, professional, reasonable and objective representation to the county. I fully recognize that the success of our country, state, city and county rests on the shoulders of the children we are bringing through our schools, and I want nothing more than to ensure that they receive their very best chance at a stellar education. Williamson County attracts individuals and businesses for many reasons, not least of which is the school system. Recognizing this fact, I believe that the individuals representing the county on the board of education should be focused 100 percent on our children and should have no other motivation but to develop policies, procedures and guidelines that directly relate to the well-being and educational growth of our county. This belief is what I represent, and anyone running for a seat on this board should feel the same way. My history and reputation for being a dedicated community servant, contributing to school, church and community events both of my time and money, should be evidence of my drive and intention to simply serve where needed and do my best to maintain an unbiased and objective approach to problem-solving and decision-making.
2) Are your children currently, or have they previously, been students in the Williamson County School district? My son, Carter, is a rising 7th grader in Fairview Middle School. He is actively involved on the FMS baseball and basketball teams, is a member of the Beta Club and is an above average student. He has attended the Fairview schools since our relocation to Fairview in 2007, when he started Fairview Elementary School’s pre-K program. My daughter, Reese, is a rising 5th grader in Fairview Elementary School and has attended FES her entire school career. She is an average to above average student who is actively involved in choir, gymnastics and cheerleading. She is looking forward to her FMS years so she can join choir and perform in productions put on by the theater department.
3) What do you believe are the top three issues that need to be addressed in Williamson County Schools? (1) Long-term and short-term growth plans should be clearly mapped out and brainstormed in order to ensure we can meet the growing community’s needs coming from relocating families. If there is anything I am good at, it is listening to understand the facts, challenges and previous work done to address matters. I have my own ideas on how to address the growth needs but would welcome the opportunity to sit with the experienced board members who exist today, as well as pull in experts in the field and survey families, in order to come up with the best solution for managing the guaranteed growth we will experience. (2) Distribution of individual school resources such as auditoriums, laptops, pools, dining space, sports fields & facilities, etc. If we want to see our children remain in their current communities, we need to focus on how to address those parts of the county that are less equipped to meet the needs of the students in those sections of the county. This can only be accomplished through long-term planning and assessment of where value is most added. (3) Support of the school system’s employees overall, and a refocus on the students. Paths have strayed somewhat, and focus has been diverted by personal agendas and a deviation from the mission and purpose of the board. Team-building activities need to occur among the old and new board members in order to ensure that the individuals start off on the right foot and are headed uniformly toward the same vision with no alternative agendas. I would welcome a retreat with the school board members, key staff/faculty in the school system and Dr. Looney to kick off a new year and best understand where the priorities are and how we as board members can best represent the interests of all key stakeholders in our county, whether they be businesses, parents, students, teachers, administration, staff workers or general taxpayers in the community who have an interest in general of seeing our community thrive.
4) What do you believe will be your greatest asset to the enhancement of public education in Williamson County? Anyone who knows me well will attest to my ability to diplomatically represent multiple opinions, navigate through conflict, share and lead through a vision, honor my commitments, lead individuals, creatively think through issues in order to best solve puzzles, communicate clearly and fairly treat those involved in areas I am representing. I know when to wear different hats, such as my “no-nonsense” hat, my “creative thinking” hat, my “empathetic and listening ear” hat, my “let’s get this done” hat and many more. My flexibility, motivation, energy, commitment level and my ability to simply get things done will greatly benefit the education system, because when I am put in a position of responsibility, I simply do not fail.
5) As part of the Williamson County Board of Education Code of Ethics, board members sign an oath as follows: “I will refrain from using my position on the school board for personal or partisan gain.” How will you make decisions that are best for the school district as a whole in this nonpartisan position, while balancing the current political landscape around public education and continuing to listen to the concerns of a diverse group of constituents? My lack of interest overall in anything related to politics probably helps my position in this matter. I do not get involved in political discussions or weigh in on my opinions about matters related to decision making in our government. I do, however, read, listen and seek to understand where it matters to me. In the position of board member, I would do my homework on matters that affect the educational system and would seek to understand all stakeholders’ viewpoints in order to best contribute to the decision making process.
6.) What do you think is the greatest success in WCS and what do you think is the greatest challenge facing WCS? How will you continue that success, and how will you contribute to the solution of that challenge? Our greatest success to date has been churning out the vast number of successful graduates into the broader society. Our greatest challenge will be the continuation of this success. As with anything, without proper leadership and planning, stagnation occurs. With stagnation comes declining success. We need to always be thinking outside the box, looking toward the next bigger and better plans, breaking status quo and proving to everyone else that we do things in a way that truly sets us apart. We need to regularly conduct SWOT analyses on our overall performance in the county education system, look at what our competition is doing and put plans in place to meet evolving interests, needs and focuses. It will be hard work, but well worth it.