Madison-area school board member Mark North won’t seek re-election in August for Metro’s District 3 seat as he turns his attention to overseeing a new nonprofit that will raise money for public school athletics programs.
North’s decision, announced in a statement last week, means two incumbent school board members are exiting. West Nashville’s District 9 representative Kay Simmons has confirmed she won’t seek another term school board.
In addition, following last year’s redistricting process, board members Sharon Gentry and Ed Kindall are now carved into the same school board district. Both have pulled qualifying papers to run for the District 1 North Nashville seat.
These new political boundaries left a vacancy for District 7, which Kindall has served. With outside candidates vying for District 7, which extends from Nolensville Pike to Percy Priest Lake, as well as Simmons and North’s departures, at least three new board members will be sworn into office this summer, following the Aug. 2 election.
North, who serves as the school board’s vice chair, was appointed to the board by the Metro Council in April 2007 to fill Pam Garrett’s seat. He later won elections in 2007 and again in 2008.
In his decision to launch a new nonprofit called The Foundation for Athletics in Nashville Schools, North, cited a 2011 City Paper story that discussed the cash-strapped status of public school athletics, which are forced to raise operating capital on its own, outside of the district.
“Our students deserve the best facilities, equipment, training and athletic programs, and providing those programs takes input and support from the private sector,” North said. “Interscholastic athletics can connect the schools with the community better than anything I know, and it is past time to make that reconnection.”
North arrived on the school board during the tenure of former Director of Schools Pedro Garcia. North was on the board that hired current director Jesse Register. Much has changed over that time, he said.
“It’s almost hard to remember back to what it was like when I came on the board,” North said. “The school board has come a long way since then, and I hope and feel like we have turned a corner both in the school system and with the school board.”
School board candidates have until April 5 to qualify for the August election. As of last Friday, David Wayne Dice and Jill Speering had picked up qualify papers for District 3.