Two retired educators — Vandy Kemp and Philip Porter — have filed certificates to be write-in candidates for the Blount County Board of Education in the Aug. 6 election.
Kemp has filed for the District 2 seat currently held by Bill Padgett, who is not seeking reelection. Porter has filed for the District 6 seat currently held by Jim Compton, who also is not seeking reelection.
Only current school board member Robbie Kirkland, District 4, filed a petition to be on the ballot by the April 2 filing deadline.
Write-in votes do not count unless the person has filed a certificate with the Election Commission, which David Forster also has done for the District 6 seat.
Unless other candidates file before the commission votes June 17 on write-in certificates, the only school board race with more than one candidate will be District 6, which includes the Carpenters, Lanier, Pellissippi campus, William Blount Ninth Grade Academy and William Blount High School voting precincts.
Porter retired in 2014 as an assistant principal at William Blount High School after 37 years with Blount County Schools as a teacher, principal and coach.
“It had always been a goal to be on the school board,” Porter said, explaining that he realized too late that he missed the petition deadline to be on the ballot and was encouraged to run by friends.
He filed his write-in certificate in late May, after the Lanier community rallied amid concerns the elementary school might be closed.
Porter said he grew up in the Lanier community and his sister taught third grade at the school.
Kemp told The Daily Times that she filed her write-in certificate the day after seeing a newspaper article that noted no one had filed as a candidate for District 2, and she “decided it was time to step up.”
Kemp retired in 2016 after a 40-year career in education, which included being vice president and dean of students at Maryville College and principal of Heritage High School.
As of May 19 only David Forster had filed that form for the District 6 school board seat, according to Susan Knopf, Blount County administrator of elections.
Forster, a recreation agreement specialist for the Tennessee Valley Authority, has a daughter graduating this year at William Blount High School and a son finishing ninth grade. His wife, Kelly Forster, is superintendent of recreation for the Maryville-Alcoa-Blount County Parks and Recreation Commission.
Michael Trent had picked up a form to be on the ballot for the District 2 seat but did not return the petition by the April deadline.
Compton, who worked for Blount County Schools for nearly 30 years before serving two four-year terms on the board, said he’s never seen a time like this with a dearth of candidates.
Those elected in August will begin serving their terms in September.