Meet the Knox County Schools Board of Education candidates
This year the board of education race has candidates share what party they are affiliated.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - There are 13 people running for Knox County Schools Board of Education.
This year the board of education race has candates share what party they are affiliated.
John Butler (D), Breyauna Holloway (I) and Reginald Jackson (I) are running for district 1, Will Edwards (R) and Katherine Bike (D) for district 4, Betsy Henderson (R), an incumbent and Phillip Sherman (I) for district 6, Sherri Garrett (R), Steve Triplett (R), and Dominique Oakley (I) for district 7, and Phil King (R), Kristi Kristy (R), an incumbent, and Annabel Henley (D) for district 9.
WVLT News asked the same five questions to each of the 13 candidates in a pre-recorded interview ahead of the May primary.
John Butler (D)
Biography: John Butler is offering himself for the Knox County Schools Board of Education, District 1 Representative. Butler is a supporter and advocate for public schools. He believes education is a basic human right, and it is the responsibility of the community to educate and prepare young people for adulthood and to be a benefit to the community. Butler came to the Knoxville community in the summer of 2007, as the pastor of Clinton Chapel AME Zion Church, in the community of Mechanicsville. It was apparent to his family that the community had a major sense of pride in its neighborhood schools. Clinton Chapel Church established a relationship with Maynard School and continues to support its needs as a Community Schools Neighborhood Partner. In the community, Butler worked with the Knoxville Interdenominational Christian Ministerial Alliance, known as KICMA, as they supported neighborhood schools. While Butler served as president, KICMA advocated on behalf of Knox County Schools custodian staff, as the school board was considering outsourcing their jobs. Butler was the president of the Knoxville Branch of the NAACP for 8 years. During that time, the NAACP supported and advocated for a 21st-century curriculum, state-of-the-art facilities, an excellent and diversified educator workforce, and equity in academic achievement and discipline. In 2015, the Knoxville Branch NAACP initiated an Office of Civil Rights Complaint with the US Department of Education concerning these issues. This led to changes in zoning and busing for District 1 schools and informed the work of the Disparities of Educational Outcomes Task Force. At the request of the superintendent, Butler served on the Disparities of Education Outcomes Task Force and the initial DEO steering committee. There are several other roles and experiences that have prepared Butler to serve District 1 students, families, and staff, including:
-Presiding Elder of the Knoxville District, serving and overseeing 9 A.M.E. Zion Churches
-School board member in Asheboro City Schools, in North Carolina
-Community college and seminary professor
-Social worker, case manager, and ombudsman
-Grant writer and provider
-Consultant for non-profit organizations
-Proud U.S. Army officer
John Butler looks forward to serving District 1 students, families, and staff on the Knox County School Board; as well as working with them to address barriers, take advantage of opportunities, and see the community come together to uplift one another.
Breyauna Holloway (I)
Biography: I am a Knoxville native, current Mechanicsville resident, born and raised in the district I am seeking to represent. I am the mother of 5 children, 4 of whom are currently first district Knox County Schools students and the last child will be entering the school system in the fall of 2023. I graduated from Austin-East Magnet High School with honors in 2003. I also received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee in 2008 majoring in sociology with a concentration in criminal justice and a minor in African and African American studies. I received my master’s degree from Kaplan University (now Purdue University Global) in 2017 in criminal justice with a concentration in management and executive leadership. I have studied at the doctorate level for both my JD and PhD but did not complete those degrees. I’ve been a social justice advocate and outspoken member of the community for several years speaking up and about various issues ranging from youth sports, gun violence, voter rights restoration, economic growth and everything in between. I previously worked in the public service sector at both the city and state levels and I am currently the owner of a vintage based thrift boutique located on Magnolia Ave. My shop has a mission to give back to schools and non-profits in my community. I am currently a member of or involved with several organizations including being appointed by Mayor Kincannon as the City of Knoxville’s 6th District Neighborhood Advisory Council Representative; a member of the University of Tennessee’s Black Alumni Council; Austin-East’s PTA, and the Austin/Austin-East Alumni Committee. In the past three years I have been a member of or involved with in some capacity the following organizations: The Alliance House; Mechanicsville Community Association (youth sports board member); Federal Probation and Parole Full Circle Re-Entry Mentoring Program; and the Maynard Elementary School Steering Committee. I’ve also volunteered my time with several other organizations too numerous to name over the course of the past few years as well. I am running for this office because everything that happens with Knox County Schools has a direct effect on my household and I am seeking to take my advocacy to a higher plateau.
Reginald Jackson (I)
Biography: Reginald Jackson Is Native of Knoxville, Tennessee. He is seventh generation in Knoxville, Tennessee. After serving in the Army for eight years he returned in 2010 to serve his community. He is a big supporter of the schools system and what it can do for the students in District 1. His main goal will be to push for technical and trades classes back in the high and middle schools in his District. He wants to see a different approach with safety and security, as well push for a better literacy program and Financial Readiness program.
Charles Frazier (D)
Biography: Graduate of Carter High School. Attended both Knoxville College and at UT Knoxville (broadcast) major graduate, Logos College. Worked 25 years for Educational TV Channels 2 and 15 and is retired. Presently works for WJBE Radio as a Sales Representative and On-Air personality. Presently and for many years a broadcaster for the Austin-East Magnet and Fulton High School football games on WJBE 99.7 FM. Frazier is host of a weekly TV show community show, Frazier Tonight, on Community Media of Knoxville at 11:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Frazier has served on several boards: MLK Commission, NAACP Board, Helen Ross McNabb Drop In Center, KOIC and other boards. Frazier is a graduate of CAC Knox Leadership Class.
Frazier states he will be an advocate for our children and teachers/principals.
“I look forward to be of an assistance to make this rich community safer and more educational to the 1st District and Knox County.”
Frazier has been a substitute teacher. His grandfather was a teacher here in Knox County.
“I believe teachers are an immense value to our community and I look forwards to being an aide to teachers/ principals and students.”
Will Edwards (R)
Biography: Will Edwards is a father of two elementary aged children, a husband, a native Tennessean, and a first-generation college graduate. Will is running for the school board because he fundamentally believes that every child deserves the opportunity to have a great education.
Will and his wife Becca have been supporters of students and educators in Knox County and across Tennessee. Will has served as co-chair of a parent advisory council for Knox County Schools and its special needs students and parents. He serves on the Education Committee of the Tennessee Council on Autism Spectrum Disorder – appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam and re-appointed by Gov. Bill Lee. Will and Becca have helped countless families behind the scenes to assist with student and teacher needs across Knox County.
In addition to his work in education, Will serves as President of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Knoxville and is an officer and director for Project Gabriel and the Autism Society of East Tennessee. Gov. Bill Lee recently appointed Will as an East Tennessee Representative to the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.
Will is an attorney and represents many East Tennessee families and their businesses. When not serving as a counselor and advisor to his clients, Will serves as a champion and advocate for students including those with special needs.
The Edwards family attends Resurrection Presbyterian Church.
Katherine Bike (D)
Biography: Katherine is a trial technology specialist, mountain bike cycling guide, mother of two, and an advocate for women & differently wired people. She is a resident of Sequoyah Hills and her children attend Sequoyah Hills Elementary School. During the summer and fall months she mentors girls through mountain biking and time spent outdoors. Katherine is a community advocate enthusiastic about building a better KCS that ensures equitable and rigorous educational opportunity for every child. In her spare time Katherine enjoys organizing events for the community through the Knoxville Adventure Collective as well as AMBC Joy Ride. Katherine has also served on the board for various not-for profits, most recently being the Knoxville Montessori School.
Betsy Henderson (R), Incumbent
Biography: Betsy Henderson was born and raised in East Tennessee. She grew up in Louisville, TN and is a product of the public school system, attending Maryville City Schools and graduating from University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
After graduation, Betsy worked in Washington DC. She moved there 7 days after September 11, because she wanted to help make a difference. Betsy worked for Congressman John Duncan and Congressman Connie Mack. While she enjoyed her time in Washington, she is glad to be home in East Tennessee.
Betsy’s dad, Victor Kampas, immigrated from Greece at the age of seventeen and has started several businesses that became institutions in Knoxville including the Varsity Inn, Kampas Liquor and Vic’s Lake View Market and Deli. Betsy’s mom, Rebecca, grew up in South Knoxville and graduated from South High School. Her family has been in East Tennessee for generations.
Betsy was raised in Saint George Greek Orthodox Church. She and her family currently attend Farragut Presbyterian. She has had the wonderful privilege of being involved in many areas, including serving as an elder.
Betsy started her service in schools when her son started kindergarten, ultimately serving as the PTO President at Hardin Valley Elementary School. Since December 2020, Betsy has served on the Knox County School Board where she has been focused on foundational skills, early literacy, being an advocate for parent voices, and making sure our schools get back to normal for our children.
Betsy lives in Hardin Valley with her husband, Scott, and two children, Logan and Molly. They attend Hardin Valley Middle and Elementary schools. Nothing is more important to Betsy than being a great mom.
Phillip Sherman (I)
Biography: I am a native Tennessean–born and raised just outside of Kingsport, Tennessee. When I left home for college in the fall of 1992, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to major in or what my future vocation might be. I was ‘still deciding.’ It was in a required course during the spring semester of my first year, Introduction to the Old Testament, that I found my calling and my passion. After graduating from Emory & Henry College with a double major in Religion and German Language and Literature, I went off to seminary and eventually pursued my doctoral degree at Emory University in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. While in graduate school, I was fortunate to serve several United Methodist congregations in the greater Atlanta area. I have a deep passion for biblical literature and am always happiest when talking about the Bible with students.
I came to Maryville College in the fall of 2006. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I love learning with students, watching them grow and discover new things, and am honored when I am invited to dream about their futures with them.
My scholarly interests focus primarily on the various ways in which Jews, Christians, and Muslims have read and interpreted sacred texts over the centuries. My dissertation, entitled Babel’s Tower Translated: Genesis 11 and ancient Jewish Interpretation, was published by Brill Academic. I am also working on a number of projects related to the multitude of ways in which human beings think about and relate to the larger animal world.
Sherri Garrett (R)
Biography: Sherri Garrett is a Knoxville native who lives in Powell with her husband Jason and youngest son. She has 5 children and 10 grandchildren, 5 of whom are currently in public schools. Sherri graduated from South Young High school, and became a licensed Practical Nurse, and has been in nursing for 32 years. She is currently employed part time in a family practice clinic in Powell.Sherri moved into Halls 9 years ago where most of her extended family lives. She and her husband bought their house in Powell 7 years ago.
Steve Triplett (R)
Biography: I’ve spent my life in the service of young people. First in ministry as a youth director at the Temple Baptist Church in Powell, Tennessee. As part of that ministry, we ran Bible clubs in every middle and high school in Knox County. I continued that service for several years as an educator, with eight years as a school administrator. And now, serving alongside the students and graduates of Knox County at Chick-fil-A in Fountain City. My desire is to continue in that calling as I serve families and students as their District 7 Representative on the Knox County School Board.
Dominique Oakley (I)
Biography: Dominique Oakley is a mother and wife, a teacher, and a small business owner. Born in Knox County into 4 generations of both educators and small business owners, she has proudly followed in her family’s footsteps. She began teaching in the Atlanta area, serving as an English and Social Studies classroom teacher before becoming a Special Needs middle school teacher. After having twins, Dominique built a successful business that she relocated to her hometown of Knoxville so her boys could have the same public school opportunities that helped her succeed. She eventually returned to her passion, special needs education, working with both public and private school students from all over Knox County while also helping develop small business opportunities for Knoxville artists and makers. She served on the Knoxville Business Advisory Council from 2015-2017, allowing her to work closely with many organizations and local non-profits. Dominique is a Lifetime member of the Girl Scouts, proud graduate of Maryville College, and the 2013 Recipient of the AFLAC Small Business Innovator of the Year Award. She brings decades of both education and business experience to the service of the District 7 community.
Phil King (R)
Biography: Master musician Phil King received a BM in Piano Performance from Wayland Baptist University. As a performer, Phil has given public recitals both in the U.S. and Europe. As a composer, Phil has had his compositions premiered internationally and has produced a CD of his original contemporary instrumental music. As an educator, Phil brings 40 years experience, teaching both in public and private schools and private instructor in 5 states; in churches as an accompanist, choral and orchestral director, vocal coach; and as Master Class clinician. With a focus on both music literacy/technique and Improvisation, many of Phil’s students have received top awards in local and reginal competitions in voice and piano, and have also produced recordings of their own original music.
Kristi Kristy (R), Incumbent
Biography: My husband Dave and I moved to South Knoxville 27 years ago. I fell in love with our South Knox schools when my triplets started kindergarten at Bonny Kate Elementary in 2004 and have been volunteering in our schools ever since. I have served in leadership roles in the PTA at Bonny Kate, South-Doyle Middle, and South-Doyle High. I also have worked part time as a pediatric nurse for the last 23 years. I am currently the Chair of the Knox County School Board and am finishing my first term. I consider it a tremendous honor to serve the children and residents of our community.
Annabel Henley (D)
Biography: Annabel Henley graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Deaf Education. She is married to Don Henley, a South Knoxville native, and they have five adult children. They are very excited to welcome their first two grandchildren this fall. Annabel taught at the Tennessee School for the Deaf when she first graduated before staying home to raise her family. While raising her children, she worked part time as a parent advisor for Tennessee Early Intervention Services. When she returned full-time to the workforce, she was recruited by a local doctor to run his office. She has also served as the Director of Operations for Swimming and Diving at UT. Six years ago she accepted the position of Program Director for Women’s Health at the Knox County Health Department where she is currently employed.
Annabel has served on the board of the Knoxville Interscholastic Swim League and volunteered as a swim coach for the Emerald Youth Swim Team. Besides her family, Annabel’s passion is a small NGO called Village2Village Project which operates in Serere, Uganda. She and her family have been involved with this organization since 2006. Annabel serves on the board of Village2Village Project and travels to Uganda annually to provide support and encouragement to the staff. She has been an alumni advisor for Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority at UT since 2014. Annabel enjoys competing in sprint triathlons, kayaking, swimming and riding her bike on the roads and greenways of Knoxville as well as traveling and spending time with her growing family.
To find what district in which you live click here.
The Knox County Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, May 3.
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