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Newcomers Gilmore and Hillman seek District 6 Sullivan BOE seat

Rick Wagner • Jul 18, 2018 at 1:49 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Two retired veteran educators, Randall Gilmore and Gee Gee Hillman, are vying for the District 6 Sullivan County school board seat in the Aug. 2 election.

They are seeking to replace longtime member Jerry Greene. Greene is not seeking re-election after 24 years on the county board. Board of Education races are nonpartisan, and the two other races with incumbents on the ballot are contested by newcomers. The four other board seats will be up in the 2020 election.

Retired Colonial Heights Middle School Principal Gilmore, director of teacher education and assistant professor of education at King University, worked in public schools 33 years, serving as a teacher mostly in Sullivan County and a short time in Bristol, Tenn. He has been a principal, teacher and coach and served in all four high school zones. 

Hilman spent most of her career as a third-grade teacher in Sullivan County at Rock Springs Elementary School, beginning the year it opened in 1979 and continuing until 2012, after starting out at Miller Perry Elementary in 1974. She also was president of the Sullivan County Education Association for two years and was the county’s Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2011.

Early voting started July 13. The precincts in the Hillman-Gilmore race are Blountville, Anderson and Avoca.

The Kingsport Times News asked each candidate three questions. 

GILMORE 

1. Should plans have been in place for an improved access road before the site for West Ridge High School was chosen and purchased?

Hindsight is 20-20 and no positive remedy results from saying what should have been done or what could have been done. The issue is that a safe road to the school must now be provided.

2 . Why are you the best candidate for the seat you are seeking on the Board of Education?

I have experience as a teacher, coach, administrator and currently director of teacher education at a local university, so I think I understand multiple perspectives of teaching and learning. I have served in each zone in Sullivan County (teacher/coach at Sullivan North for eight years; teacher/coach in the East zone for 14 years; administrator in the South zone for six years; and I taught summer school in the Central zone for two years) and I really want to create an environment where education is celebrated and honored.

3. How could or should soured relations between the school board and County Commission be mended?

Adversarial sentiments and comments, both publicly and on social media, must be stopped and the focus returned to what is best for students. Those who are interested in localism and maintaining power hopefully will understand that supporting student achievement is in the best interests of everyone.

HILLMAN

1. Should plans have been in place for an improved access road before the site for West Ridge High School was chosen and purchased?

Yes, the ideal situation would have been that the Sullivan County Board of Education and the Sullivan County Highway Department to have worked hand in hand to develop and ensure safe roads for the future of West Ridge High School.

2.Why are you the best candidate for the seat you are seeking on the Board of Education?

— I feel my education and experience within the school system makes me an excellent candidate for the position on the Board of Education. I am eager to use my credentials for the betterment of the students, teachers and citizens of Sullivan County.

— I am a graduate of Sullivan Central High School.

— I earned a bachelor’s of science in elementary education from East Tennessee State University.

— I earned a Master’s degree from Tusculum University.

— I taught 3rd grade for 38 years in Sullivan County.

— I served on the book review committee; curriculum mapping for 3rd grade, inservices for teachers’ training, Sullivan County Education Association president and vice president.

— I was Sullivan County Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2011.

— I have been substitute teaching in Sullivan County elementary, middle and high schools since my retirement in 2012.

— I served 3 years as secretary on the Blountville Community Chest which benefits the students and community of the Blountville area.

— I am a lifelong member of First Baptist Church in Blountville and have managed the phone prayer line for 15 years.

3. How could or should soured relations between the school board and County Commission be mended?

The School Board and County Commissioners need to come together and work to find a resolution. This will take finding a common ground that will best benefit all citizens of Sullivan County.

 

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