Brian Snyder served as an alderman for the town of Nolensville for a decade, and that, he believes, is a large part of why he’s the best choice for filling the District 5 seat on the Williamson County Board of Education.
Snyder, who grew up in Nolensville and has two daughters in Williamson County Schools, is one of three candidates seeking the seat vacated after longtime board member Gary Anderson announced his retirement last spring.
“I would like to use the 10 years of experience [as alderman] of going through budgets, going through difficult conversations, and trying to find what I call strategic negotiations to make sure we all get along,” said Snyder, who was alderman from 2009-18 and also served as vice mayor and on the planning commission.
“I’d like to use that on the school board. It is certainly a large board and certainly one that has a lot of attention to it. Hopefully I can use some of that experience to make that be a benefit to the county and to the schools.”
With the exception of the current crisis for schools caused by the coronavirus outbreak, Snyder points to growth as what he calls the 800-pound gorilla in the room. Any political or economic entity in Williamson County places growth at or near the top of a priorities list, but Snyder believes it’s of critical importance in education.
“We must continue to strategize and manage the growth component,” he said. “Working with local municipalities to understanding their zoning and the potential impact of high-density developments on our school system will be paramount. Money seems to always be involved in these conversations and for good reason — schools are expensive to build and to maintain.
“Our little town is continuing to grow,” Snyder added, “and as we look at strategic planning roughly 20 years out, Nolensville and this area could potentially double based on estimations that are out there. I think one of the challenges for the school board is how do we look at the growth, plan for that growth and [consider] being proactive instead of reactive.”
Snyder believes that one of the ways WCS can be more proactive would be to take a new look at the current climate of the pandemic. It presents an opportunity for the district to become hyper-creative in addressing the situation, according to Snyder.
“We’re watching businesses pivot and become very nimble in how they’re doing things, and some of them are being very creative and successful in that,” Snyder explained. “It could be an interesting time for the school system to pivot. I would love to see Williamson County kind of lead the charge in what school looks like moving forward.
“If we all think COVID-19 is going to change the world, I think we have a unique opportunity to take a challenge and turn it into a win for us, our students and toward what education looks like for the next generation as well.”