District 8 School Board Race
Grassland Estates, Laurel Brook, Polo Club, Legends Ridge
Fieldstone Farms (east of Hillsboro, Publix side), Stonebridge, Hunterwood
Click maps to view PDF - Districts 8-1, 8-2
Candy Emerson has been the District 8 School Board Representative since 2014 and is not seeking reelection this year.
August 4th Election
Donna Clements - R
Ken Chilton - I
We knew Ken's name from seeing his comments throughout social media discussions over the years on needing to better fund Williamson County Schools.
In Ken's own words:
"I never thought about running for public office until the last 6-months. I have been extremely pleased with the quality of my son's experience in WCS and assumed that I didn't need to get involved. I was shocked by the school board meeting in August 2021 that garnered national media attention. The anger and vitriol witnessed at that meeting motivated me to delve deeper into the issues related to Williamson County Public schools. We can do better than that. As a data analyst, school performance in Williamson County is outstanding. Taxpayers in almost any other district in the United States would be thrilled to achieve at the level of WCS. Yet, opponents of public education seem committed to gutting it. WCS drives property values and increases equity for all Williamson County residents. It produced over 70 National Merit Finalists in 2021. The average ACT score for WCS students is 26. I want to conserve a high-functioning school district. I want to support teachers, staff members, and families who make WCS one of the best districts in the country. I want my son to thrive in a district driven by excellence."
The information in this section was gathered from the Williamson Strong candidate questionnaires, local media coverage, social media posts, and our own historical information, which we've linked to where possible.
Candidate Profiles & Interviews:
Williamson Inc. Meet the Candidates Interview
Current WCS engagement: Grassland Middle School Parent
Local history: Lived in Williamson County for nine years
Completed our Williamson Strong candidate questionnaire: Yes -- click to read.
Endorsements: Williamson Strong, current D8 County Commissioner Jerry Rainey
Notable Info: Ken has been actively following our local school news for many years. Like other candidates, he had no desire to step into the spotlight himself but couldn't sit on the sidelines while the attacks on our public schools and teachers continued to escalate over the last year. We were impressed with Ken's responses to our survey and believe he fundamentally understands the role of a board member and is committed to listening to experts and putting the needs of all students first. "Related to transparency is "parental rights." We need to be responsive to parents, but the relationship needs to be reciprocal. Most parents have not been trained in curricular design, pedagogy, psychometrics, or other specialized skills used by educators to improve and measure student success. I have an undergraduate degree in Economics, but that doesn't qualify me to design and implement Federal Reserve policy. We also need to balance the rights of Parent A with the rights of Parent B. My gauge will focus on the "greater good" of all students when making decisions, not the whims of an animated subset of parents."
Donna Clements (R)
Endorsements: Moms for Liberty's "Williamson Families" PAC
Current WCS engagement: Homeschools and private school parent, by all reports. During the Republican candidate forum, Graham was asked, "Can you explain how teaching in a private school for 20 years and placing all your school-age children in homeschool or private school for the past seven years makes you a compelling voice for public school families?" Clements responded with a somewhat vague answer indicating that they are a "Heinz 57 family when it comes to education..experience will all schooling types."
Professional: After receiving an undergraduate degree in psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill, Clements attended graduate school at Vanderbilt University to obtain a master's degree in education. (From Williamson Herald Article.)
Local history: Moved to Williamson County in 2002 (From Williamson Herald Article)
Completed our Williamson Strong candidate questionnaire: No
Notable info: Donna Clements has, on multiple occasions, expressed her support for vouchers on public comments on the Williamson Strong Facebook Page and also voiced support for charter schools at the WCSB Republican Candidate forum. She also said that "Really a low risk because you have to have the people supporting it to do the crowd fundraising for it." This concerns us because she does not seem to understand that charter schools are publicly funded, with taxpayer money being diverted from our public schools. At the Williamson County Republican Forum, Clements says she would have voted against the reconsideration committee decision. She says she is "against CRT" and believes that the teacher morale issue is because they are being pressured to teach topics that make them uncomfortable. (There is no evidence to suggest this.)
Endorsed by controversial and far-right County Commissioner Barb Sturgeon, who sued WCS after being barred from school property after bringing a concealed, loaded handgun which cost Williamson County taxpayers $30,000 to fight.
Current WCS engagement: "Previously served on the Grassland School Community Association's Sunshine Committee, participated in career days, Parents in PE, classroom readings, and fundraiser events." - Williamson Strong questionnaire.
Professional: Senior Director of Knowledge Management for HCA Healthcare and assistant professor at the University of Tennessee, Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Translational Science
Local history: Lived in Williamson County for the past five years
Completed our Williamson Strong candidate questionnaire: Yes - click to read.
Groups: Involved in the Back to School Williamson County Facebook Group
Notable Info: At the WCSB Republican Candidate forum on March 13, Shauna Graham indicated that she is a proponent of school choice. When asked about CRT, she responded, "From the academic definition, I don't believe that's being taught. However, any ideology, or concepts or terminology that's being used to sort children, to categorize children by their race and make them believe that is the most important thing about them, more important than their personality, their hopes, their dreams, who they are is wrong. It's too much focus."
When asked about the reconsideration committee's report, Shauna said that she likely would have supported the committee's decision. She said that while she does have some concerns about the age-appropriateness of the curriculum, she didn't think a "full rip and replace" was reasonable.
Graham attended the 3/17/22 Williamson County Republican Party mix & mingle, posing with school voucher-advocate Senator Jack Johnson and District 10 school board candidate Ali Adair, who is challenging current WCSB member Eric Welch in the Republican primary on May 3.
Her comments on the support of the new TISA funding model are highly concerning as Governor Lee's new funding proposal is coming under major bi-partisan scrutiny, primarily due to it placing a potentially heavy burden on local taxpayers in 3-4 years.
"age-appropriate curriculum" is a major flag for book banning/censorship and not trusting our teachers - Graham was a member of the Moms for Liberty Facebook group at one time but appears to have left it since running for office.
Major red flag: Any candidate calling an opponent a derogatory nickname will not be a good representative for the Williamson County community, and we have no tolerance for this sort of immaturity on display during campaigns when one would expect candidates to be extra careful about their public commentary.