By JAMES EVANS
Rutherford County Schools
The Rutherford County Board of Education has a new chairman and vice chairman, along with two new elected members after the departure of two members with a combined 20 years of service.
Jim Estes, previously the Board’s vice chair, has been selected as the chairman for the 2018-2019 year. Coy Young has been named the vice chairman.
In August, Estes won his second term as the school board member representing Zone 7.
“I like serving,” said Estes, who also served on the Conservation Board for nearly 17 years. “You get to do a lot of good things.”
Estes was sworn in by his childhood friend, Judge Ben McFarlin.
“It was very special,” Estes said. “Ben and I have been friends for, oh gosh, at least 60 years. It’s pretty special that we’re both still going — still out here working every day.”
Wayne Blair — who has served the past 12 years — and Aaron Holladay — with eight years of service — did not seek re-election for their seats.
Joining the School Board are Tiffany Johnson and Tammy Sharp, who recently won elections for the two vacated seats. Their terms officially began Sept. 1. The Rutherford County Schools’ Communications Department will be featuring both new members in two upcoming articles.
Blair served several years as vice chairman and chairman of the Board. He was also active in the Tennessee School Boards Association, where he was elected to several offices including president of the organization for a one-year term.
“The Rutherford County education district has educated several generations of my family including my own children,” Blair said. “As a child of blue-collar parents with five brothers and sisters, with a speech impediment, how different would my life be today if Rutherford County had not given me speech therapy, because my blue-collar parents could not have afforded it. So that is why I am such a strong advocate for public education and will continue even in my private life to be a strong advocate for public education.”
Holladay has served for several years as the Board’s representative on the Federal Relations Network, which involved tracking federal legislation and directives that impacted local schools.
“I don’t think it will to come to any of my fellow board members’ surprise that I have a few thoughts. I’m going to run through the finish line,” Holladay said before illustrating his pride in the dual enrollment opportunities offered to students at LaVergne High School, his push to hire a full-time fine arts coordinator, and his desire to initiate a citizenship program for students and launch a magnet high school in North Rutherford County.
Johnson has been elected to represent School Board Zone 4, which covers portions of the Rockvale, Eagleville and Smyrna areas. Sharp will represent School Board Zone 1, which covers portions of LaVergne and Smyrna.
Both ladies were officially sworn last week by Judge Barry Tidwell in front of a crowd of family members and supporters.
During the ceremony, Director of Schools Bill Spurlock thanked both for their self-sacrifice and desire to serve public education in Rutherford County.
“I’m very thankful that I will have the opportunity to work with them,” Director Spurlock said. “I’ve had the opportunity to get to know them a little bit and to speak with them. I know where their passion lies — and it’s with kids. That’s what it’s all about, and that’s what our system is all about.”