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Meet the Candidates: Shelby County Unified School Board District 1 (Updated July 15 2012)

July 3, 2012

Three candidates are vying for the permanent Super District 1 position on the unified Shelby County School Board: Chris Caldwell, Dr. Freda Williams, and Dr.  Noel G. L. Hutchinson, Jr. District 1 includes downtown and midtown Memphis, cutting a west-east swath through the city roughly between Sam Cooper/Summer and Park Avenues from the river to White Station. The newly elected  commissioner will serve a two-year term.

District 1 Shelby Co. School Board

Dr. Freda Williams
District 1 Candidate

Dr. Freda Williams, 61,  currently holds the now-eliminated District 1 At Large Position for Memphis City Schools (MCS). Under the court-ordered rules of consolidation, all districts become single member districts.Dr. Williams was appointed to her position by unanimous vote of the MCS Board of Commissioners in December 2007, then elected to a full term in 2008.

Dr. Williams is a professional educator and native Memphian. She obtained her undergraduate degree in education from LeMoyne-Owen College, and was awarded masters (education) and doctoral degrees (educational psychology and research) from the University of Memphis.She served MCS for many years as a teacher and administrator before retiring from the system in 2007. Dr. Williams has also been an adjunct professor at the University of Memphis, Christian Brothers University and LeMoyne-Owen College. She  currently serves  part time as a professor at Walden University in its educational doctorate program. Dr. Williams is the newly elected coordinator for the Delta region of the National School Boards Association’s Federal Relations Network.

Dr. Williams is single with two adult sons.

Her profile in the Commercial Appeal Voters Guide published on July 15, 2012 included this quote:

“I am interested in establishing effective policies for the new school system that will create a district which offers equal access to high quality education for all students.”

For more about Dr. Williams:

Campaign website

Dr. Williams on Twitter

MCS Board of Commissioners

Dr. Williams on Linked In

Coalition for a Better Memphis (CBM) Position Statement

CBM Candidate Questionnaire

Commercial Appeal July 13, 2012 (Candidate profile)

Commercial Appeal July 13, 2012 (District 1 article)

Commercial Appeal June 21, 2012

Chris Caldwell
District 1 Candidate

Chris Caldwell, 59,  is the incumbent for  the Shelby County United School Board District 1 seat. He was appointed by the  Shelby County Commission for an interim term that began October 1, 2011. He is now running for election to that post.

Mr. Caldwell has been actively engaged in Memphis City Schools (MCS) as a parent advocate along with his wife Cheryl for the past decade. A native Memphian, he was educated in MCS and now has three school-aged children in the system. He has been endorsed by Stand for Children, a grassroots organization supporting public education, and serves on its board. Mr. Caldwell is a financial consultant with Raymond James/Morgan Keegan. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Business Administration.

His profile in the Commercial Appeal‘s June 15, 2012 Voters Guide included the following quote:

“Having served on the board since October, I realize there are things the Board can do better to operate in a more consistent and professional way to promote accountability, transparency, and proactively engage all stakeholders in the community.”

For more about Chris Caldwell:

Campaign website

Campaign on Facebook

Coalition for a Better Memphis (CBM) questionnaire

CBM Statement of Qualifications

Stand for Children Endorsement

Commercial Appeal July 13, 2012 (District 1 article)

Commercial Appeal July 13, 2012 (Candidate profile)

Commercial Appeal June 20, 2012 (Stand for Children endorsement)

Commercial Appeal Feb. 20, 2011

Memphis News Blog Sept. 13, 2012

Dr. Noel Hutchinson
District 1 Candidate

Dr. Noel G. L. Hutchinson, Jr., 51, pastor of First Baptist Church Lauderdale, has been deeply involved in Memphis community leadership for a number of years. He has served with the Urban League, Memphis NAACP, Church Health Center, and other organizations. Currently Dr. Hutchinson is on the management team for a Memphis Housing Authority/HUD Choice Neighborhood Planning grant and serves on the board of the Southern Avenue Elementary Charter School. He was a founder of the multiracial group known now as Clergy United for Memphis Schools. First Baptist Church Lauderdale provides tutorial sessions and computer access to schoolchildren in one of Memphis’ poorest areas.

Dr. Hutchinson is a native of the Bronx, New York. He holds a Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary.

The Commercial Appeal’s Voters Guide on July 15, 2012 includes the following quote from Dr. Hutchinson:

“Above the din of those calling for separation, and wanting to fall back to methods that work for some, there is a need for a voice who can speak with those on all sides of where we are, while helping to set policy that will ensure a world-class educational system for our county.”

For more about Dr. Hutchinson:

Faith in Memphis blog

Dr. Hutchinson on Twitter

CBM Candidate Questionnaire

Commercial Appeal July 13, 2012 (District 1 article)

Commercial Appeal July 13, 2012 (Candidate profile)

Commercial Appeal June 2, 2012

Commercial Appeal January 28, 2012

Commercial Appeal October 15, 2011

Commercial Appeal Feb. 20, 2011

Eddie interviewed all three candidates on June 22’s Friday Viewpoint with Eddie Settles on Bott Radio Network AM 560.  Listen to it here:

District 1 Radio Interviews June 22 2012

Back in River City  has submitted questions about current school board issues to all  candidates.  We will post their responses when received.  You may also post your questions here for District 1 candidates.

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