The non-partisan parent group and political action committee Williamson Strong announced Tuesday the six candidates being endorsed for the upcoming Williamson County school board election, with candidates across all parties in the state’s first-ever partisan school board race.
The endorsed candidates are as follows:
- District 2: Tiffany Eccles (I)
- District 4: Bob Britton (D)
- District 6: Kristi Bidinger (I)
- District 8: Ken Chilton (I)
- District 10: Eric Welch (R) - incumbent
- District 12: Nancy Garrett (I) - incumbent
“Local voters aren’t always engaged in school board elections, despite how vital our public schools are to all Williamson County residents,” Anne McGraw, a Williamson Strong leader and former Williamson County Board of Education member, said in a press release.
“Voting for the right candidates is absolutely critical for our kids, their teachers, and our county if we are to remain the shining example of public education in Tennessee. We’re here to help with that process.”
Candidate questionnaires were emailed to all 20 candidates who filed a petition to be on the ballot, with all but five submitting for consideration. The criteria for the endorsement selection, which is published on the organization’s website, included evaluating candidates for a vested interest in local public schools, a demonstrated ability to execute the functions of the role, and how well they will represent Williamson County while serving on the school board.
“The foundation of any community is a thriving public school system,” said District 2 candidate Tiffany Eccles, who will face incumbent Dan Cash in August. “I’m proud to accept the endorsement of Williamson Strong, a group that dedicates themselves to the continued growth and development of Williamson County Public Schools.”
District 8 candidate Ken Chilton, who will face either Donna Clements or Shauna Graham in August, added in the release that he takes pride in the group’s endorsement.
“Williamson Strong is a voice of reason for parents with children in WCS,” he said. “We need level-headed school board members who recognize the value of our schools, and I'm honored that they consider me an advocate and protector of public education.”
Due to the bill that passed in the Tennessee legislative special session in October, school board races can now be partisan if local parties so choose. Both the Williamson County Republican and Democratic parties decided to hold primaries, which will take place May 3 for voters to decide who will make it through to the August ballot.
The only Williamson Strong-endorsed candidate who will be challenged during the primary races is Eric Welch, an incumbent who is seeking another term serving as the District 10 representative. Welch’s May opponent is Ali Wallace Adair.
Others squaring off in the Republican primaries are Josh Brown and Elliott Franklin in District 4, Donna Clements and Shauna Graham in District 8 and Jamie Lima and Drason Beasley in District 12. All other candidates are guaranteed to be on the Aug. 4 general election ballot for the 2022-28 Williamson County school board seats.
“These candidates [endorsed by Williamson Strong] are all public servants who clearly have no agenda other than a commitment to public schools,” Crystal Freemon, co-leader of Williamson Strong, said. “This group will always put students first, and we’re excited to be a part of helping voters discover why they’re the best people for these roles.”
Voters wishing to update their voter registration, confirm their voting district or find their voting center information may do so using Williamson Strong’s Voter Toolkit on its website.
Visit the Williamson County Election Commission website for additional information on the upcoming elections.