Gary Anderson, who has served on the Williamson County Board of Education for 30 years, announced Wednesday afternoon that he will be retiring from the board at the end of his current term.
Anderson, who has been chairman of the board for the past several years, had pulled petition papers to run for re-election in District 5, but had since decided to retire before Thursday’s deadline to qualify. Three people — Jennifer Bourne, Margie Johnson and Brian Snyder — had indicated plans to challenge him by pulling petition papers.
“My retiring from the board at the end of my current term will be bitter-sweet,” Anderson said in an email announcing his plans. “I have willingly dedicated many years of service to what I feel passionate about, the education of our children, and my walking away from that will be difficult for me. But, I also now want to dedicate more of my time to be with my family and give others an opportunity to help to continue to lead WCS into the next generation.”
WCS Superintendent Jason Golden spoke to Anderson’s influence on the district from the time he first started serving on the board.
“It’s hard to imagine that when he was first elected, WCS didn’t even have music or art teachers in our elementary schools,” Golden said. “That need was one of his focus points early in his board career.
“We have come so far since then, in large part due to his leadership. I believe I can speak for the entire administrative staff when I say Gary Anderson will truly be missed on the Williamson County Board of Education, but I know that he will continue to be a force for good in our community.”
Nancy Garrett, who represents District 12 and is co-chair of the board, said Anderson’s impact on the board and the district will be felt for a long time.
“Gary Anderson has spent most of his adult life in service to Williamson County Schools,” she said. “Whether it was volunteering to teach the recorder as part of classroom music enrichment, or through his even-handed leadership of the Williamson County School Board, he will certainly be missed. However, his legacy will be the time he spent investing in the WCSB and this community with his leadership skills, his decency and his professional expertise as a public school administrator.”
Anderson acknowledged the challengers he would have faced for District 5 in the August election if all three qualify. He said he would be glad to help any of them with information, and would show his support for one of them.
“I will make myself available to answer any questions that they might have about being a school board member, and anticipate endorsing one of the candidates after the official filing date,” said Anderson, who works full-time as director of Finance and Administrative Services for Murfreesboro City Schools.
Anderson was one of six school board members from odd-numbered districts facing re-election. Others are Angela Durham (District 1), Eliot Mitchell (District 3), Sheila Cleveland (District 7), Rick Wimberly (District 9) and KC Haugh (District 11).
Qualifying deadline is Thursday at noon.