The fight for Nashville

Over the last couple of years, teachers have been growing a movement here in Nashville, our own Red for Ed movement. It’s been slow to build, but then again, these things take time if they are really going to make a difference.

We have a robust Facebook group, and we regularly move into action, from walk-ins at schools across Nashville to writing postcards to local and state legislators to speaking up at the school board and city council to canvassing for pro-public education candidates.

The bottom line is this: we want fully funded schools.

But one frustration in all of this is that we shouldn’t have to be doing all of this. We should have a city behind us, fully invested in the success of our public schools. Fully funding our school shouldn’t be something we have to constantly fight for. And so, we will continue fighting to change that paradigm.

Part of doing that means that we desperately need new leadership in Nashville. While current Mayor David Briley panders for votes from teachers, we must do better. Briley recently “found” money to put towards an additional 3% raise for teachers, giving us a total of 6%, which is really only a COLA and not a true raise. And there still are no step increases. And this newly-found money may not truly be sustainable. I can see right through this – it’s a trick to get more votes.

I’m not buying it. Which is why I am strongly endorsing John Ray Clemmons for the mayor of Nashville.

Here is an editorial I wrote for The Tennessean – including the names of over 130 citizens who agree that we need John Ray Clemmons:

Why Nashville needs John Ray Clemmons

After the recent disappointing budget vote by City Council, teachers are frustrated. That frustration stems from two years’ worth of work raising awareness of our underfunded schools and teacher shortage problems.

Quite frankly, Nashvillians are tired of feeling like the leadership of this city cares more about tourism and corporate dollars than they do about us.

We are long overdue for a leader who cares deeply about the people in this city, for someone who can balance the needs of a growing city with all the things that make Nashville great. For someone who has the impetus to make life better for all of us – teachers, police officers, fire fighters, bus drivers, city workers, and families.

That person is John Ray Clemmons.

He leads with heart and a conviction that our lives and our livelihoods matter. This conviction shows in his professional life as a lawyer and state legislator and in his personal life. He is the only mayoral candidate with children in our very own Metro Nashville Public Schools. This decision cannot be overstated; it shows a personal commitment to our public schools that many of our leaders lack.

John Ray Clemmons has a solid history of standing with teachers and community leaders for what we need in Nashville. He is genuine and humble, two qualities we have not seen for a long time. Clemmons has a true desire to be a public servant and has said that he will serve with less concern about being reelected than doing what is right.

As teachers, we know the role we play in children’s lives is deeply important, but truthfully, we all play a role – from teachers to parents to community members who don’t have children in schools. We can agree that our schools need to be fully funded, which means that teachers earn a fair salary and have the resources needed to help children, and doing this will require some difficult decisions. But more than that, we need the city behind us, supporting those services that have a direct impact on our children and our communities, like transportation, access to city services, strong libraries, and community centers. Clemmons will lead this charge.

Citizens see business booming and increased tourism. We see the shiny new buildings and expensive apartments being built. We know money is flowing in, but it hasn’t been accessible to fund the public services needed to keep our city running. As more residents realize that having a big event come here means more to city leaders than the people who live in and serve this city we love, more people are getting angry. We need a leader who understands the balance between how to handle growth while preserving all the things we love about Nashville. Clemmons is that leader.

Teachers are running out of patience for the support we need to be successful in teaching our city’s children. We are tired of empty words, support but no action, and it is time for true change to occur. This city council has had two years of stalled efforts to begin the process of fully funding our schools. We know it won’t happen overnight or even in one fiscal year, but that process has again failed to even begin! We are sick of it.

Nashville can’t continue to go down this road where its citizens do not feel respected. We have a lot of love for our city, and we want better for its future.

Join us on Saturday, July 13 from 1-3 PM at 3rd and Lindsley for a rally and then early voting. We need John Ray Clemmons as the mayor of Nashville. The very soul of our city is at stake.

Mary Holden, MNPS teacher and parent

Theresa Wagner, MNPS teacher

Amanda Kail, MNPS teacher

Michele Sheriff, MNPS teacher

Katherine Green, MNPS teacher

Erick Huth, MNPS teacher

Lyn Hoyt, MNPS parent

Kristin Dillard, MNPS parent

Amy Ryan, MNPS teacher

Beth Joslin Roth, MNPS parent

Anna Shepherd, MNPS grandparent and school board member

Jessica Sullivan, MNPS teacher

Lynne McDonald, MNPS teacher

Stephanie Montenegro, MNPS parent and parent outreach translator

Jen Simon, MNPS speech-language pathologist

Jodi Sheffield, MNPS teacher

Julie Kuchinski-Elliott, MNPS teacher

Samuel Elliott, MNPS paraprofessional

Shiloh Burns, MNPS teacher

Paige La Grone Babcock, MNPS teacher, parent, and teacher spouse

Eric Babcock, MNPS teacher, parent, and teacher spouse

Sharon Osborne, MNPS teacher

Patricia Wolford, MNPS teacher

Elizabeth Kyle, MNPS teacher

Sara Morrison, MNPS teacher

Michelle Bell, MNPS school psychologist

Ashley Morrow, MNPS teacher

Zerlinda Jessee, MNPS teacher and parent

Amy Flatt, MNPS teacher

Kimberley Jones, MNPS teacher

Carrie Danaher, MNPS teacher

Cami Weber, MNPS teacher

Alyssa James, MNPS teacher

Jennifer Kimball, retired MNPS teacher

Cindy Kleinrock, MNPS teacher

Debra Perry, MNPS teacher

Jessica Gleadall, MNPS teacher

Sherrie Martin, MNPS teacher

Terah Pring, MNPS teacher

Denise Sloan, MNPS teacher

Charlene Culbertson, MNPS teacher

Kristine Harrison, MNPS teacher and parent

Lisa Waynick, MNPS teacher

April Reynolds, MNPS teacher

Katie Karijolich, MNPS occupational therapist

Kelly Phipps, MNPS occupational therapist

Ann Lemon, MNPS teacher

Cindy Greer, MNPS teacher and parent

Jordan Chitwood, MNPS teacher

Jennifer Neal, MNPS teacher and parent

Abby Greenwood, MNPS teacher

April Lazarus, MNPS teacher

Kimberly Follis, MNPS teacher

Tara Johnson, MNPS counselor and parent

Mychelle MacKay, MNPS teacher

Briana Harris, MNPS teacher

Greg Smedley-Warren, MNPS teacher

Connie Hoover, MNPS teacher

Kevin Blades, MNPS teacher

Rene Jordan, MNPS teacher

Viki Cauthen, MNPS support staff

Lauren Fredericksen, MNPS teacher

Helen Conlee McMackin, retired MNPS teacher and grandparent

Janet Coke, MNPS teacher

Denielle Helton, MNPS teacher

Elizabeth Metts, MNPS teacher

Susan Saar, MNPS teacher and parent

Carol Burden, MNPS teacher and parent

Tamara Baxt Clemmons, MNPS parent

Rebecca Hickey, MNPS support staff

Ginny Cox, MNPS teacher

Patricia Miller, MNPS social worker

Jolie Cox, MNPS alumna

Sally Worsham, MNPS teacher and parent

Amanda Mgbodille, MNPS substitute teacher and parent

Chelsea Mangrum, MNPS teacher

Kristin Petrony, MNPS teacher and parent

Lillian Boeskool, MNPS substitute teacher and parent

Allie Sebastian, MNPS teacher

Camilla Spadafino, MNPS teacher

Mary Jo Tewes Cramb, MNPS teacher and parent

Abigail Tylor, MNPS parent and former teacher

Julie Trudel, MNPS teacher

Deborah Taliaferro, retired MNPS teacher

Aimee Hall, MNPS teacher

Amanda Baker, MNPS teacher and parent

Ashley King, MNPS parent

Julie Crowe, MNPS teacher and parent

Susan Norwood, MNPS teacher and grandparent

Cynthia Jones, MNPS teacher

Lisa Mingrone, MNPS parent

Rebecca Spencer, MNPS parent

Cecilia Bragg, MNPS support staff and parent

Coreen Havron, MNPS parent

Amanda Garner, MNPS parent

Jennifer Burnell, MNPS teacher and parent

Jeanne Harnishfeger Rowan, MNPS teacher

Eileen Hernandez, MNPS counselor and parent

Melissa Butler, MNPS parent

Brett Rackoff, MNPS teacher and parent

Genny Petschulat, MNPS teacher

Jennifer Broeder, MNPS teacher

Santana Clardy, MNPS paraprofessional and parent

Jayne Riand, MNPS teacher and parent

Julie Young, MNPS teacher

Kay Beard, MNPS teacher

Emily Bryan, MNPS teacher

Lynn Buchanan, MNPS grandparent

Becky Gore, MNPS parent and former paraprofessional

Logan Kelton, MNPS teacher

Alexandra Powell, MNPS teacher and parent

Brenda Lee Peery, MNPS teacher

Megan Baker, MNPS teacher and parent

Lauren Lane, MNPS teacher and parent

Carl Lane, MNPS teacher and parent

Pat Sanders, MNPS teacher

Patrick Flannery-Reilly, MNPS teacher

Kristi Bowling, MNPS teacher and parent

Codi Cummings, MNPS teacher

Kristin McLaughlin, MNPS teacher

Elizabeth Morton, MNPS teacher

Nicole Motzny, MNPS parent

Jessica Jarrett, MNPS teacher and parent

Rachel Roddick, MNPS parent

Chris Moth, MNPS parent

Lindsay Fa, MNPS parent

Brooke Hall, MNPS teacher and parent

Carol Bapty, MNPS parent

Donna Harris, MNPS teacher

Fran Clarke, retired MNPS teacher and parent

Keith Wilson, MNPS teacher

Christine Pulle, MNPS parent

Laureen Greathouse, MNPS teacher

Carrie Fanning, MNPS teacher and parent


Y’all, we can change things for the better. We can reclaim the soul of this great city.


Let’s make it happen.





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