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Q&A with Washington County school board candidate Mickey Trivett

Zach Vance • Jan 11, 2018 at 9:35 PM

The recent controversy surrounding the Jonesborough K-8 School project has influenced yet another candidate to run for Washington County Board of Education in 2018.

One day after the school board’s Jan. 4 meeting, where it deferred a vote on the school project in favor of a town hall meeting, Mickey Trivett went to the election office and picked up a petition to run for a District 1 seat on the board.

Trivett, 35, is a web designer and owner of WebCoUSA, a Johnson City-based website design, printing and consulting firm.

Married with two teenage sons, Trivett grew up in Washington County, attending Jonesborough Elementary, Jonesborough Middle School and David Crockett High School. He went on to attend Northeast State Technical Community College before teaching himself website design.

Here are a few questions Trivett answered about his candidacy:

Q: Why do you want to run for Washington County Board of Education?

A: “I would like to see our school board come together, and not only work together with one another by being the leaders that we entrusted them to be, but also work with our community and listen to the voices that make up our system. Those voices, no matter who it is, should all be heard.

“I think that if our system wants to be the best system in the county, area or even state, that we have to listen to feedback from our community.

“If we want to be the best then we have to know what is broke to fix it. To be effective, we should seek input from our teachers, parents, and community and communicate with them directly. Sure it will take some time and resources, but nothing worth having came easily overnight.”

Q: How long have you wanted to run? Is this a recent decision or have you been thinking about it for a while?

A: “I have always been intrigued by the idea of running for some form of public office, but it was in September 2017 that I felt the urge to run. After attending the school board meeting on Jan. 4, that sealed the deal. I picked up my petition with the intent to run the very next day.”

Q: What are your thoughts on the current school board’s handling of the Jonesborough K-8 project?

A: “First of all, I attended both Jonesborough Elementary and Jonesborough Middle School when I was a kid. In that regard, I think the project itself is extremely overdue as the schools then were outdated, and I am 35 years old now. This project should have happened years ago, but it has either been pushed back or overlooked for years, and to be honest, the people are tired of waiting. We need action.

“For every day that goes by, the cost of this project can increase, or other factors could come into play that would affect this from happening anytime soon. Both our County Commission and school board need to come together and come to an agreement on making this happen.”

Q: Is there anything you believe the current school board could improve on?

A: “Yes, as stated earlier, I think community involvement and communication are very important. I believe that school safety is a must, as well. Let’s face the facts. Our world today is not what it once was. It doesn’t matter if you live in a big city or a small town, crazy and evil things can happen anywhere.

“I believe that it is always better to be proactive than reactive. I would propose we request a study to be done by our local police departments and sheriff’s departments to see how we can improve our overall safety, planning and preparedness within all of our Washington County schools.

“Each school in our district is unique, and I understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, our students, facultys and staffs safety should be one of our top priorities in our system.

Q: Do you have any proposals to better education in Washington County?

“I am extremely passionate about both. I live technology everyday in my business, and I think we should have up-to-date computers and hardware for our classrooms. Technology plays a huge part in our society today, and we have to try our best and stay up-to-date with it. Without it, we are putting both our system and students behind.

“I am a firm believer that our students should know a trade and have complete access to the most-recent tools, resources, and equipment available. We have some magnificent programs in our high schools, but just think how much better they would be if they had up-to-date tools and equipment.”

Q: What are your thoughts on Director of Schools Kimber Halliburton’s performance since she took the helm in 2016?

A: “I do not always agree with everything that is said by (Halliburton or the school board), but that is life, and sometimes life is not fair. If there is division in leadership, then it can affect everyone below, from other administrators down to the students, and I will not contribute to that.

“I can tell you that if I am given the opportunity and elected to the school board, my job is not to please another board member, the director or some third-party interest. I will be voting for what I think is in the best interest of our kids, parents, teachers and community because they are the reason I would be in that position.

“With that said, I will gladly work side by side with the current board, the newly-elected board and Halliburton in bettering the future of the Washington County School System.”

Kerrie Aistrop, Jason Day, David Hammond and Dwight Jenkins have also picked up petitions to run for the board. The election is Aug. 2.

Email Zach Vance at zvance@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow Zach Vance on Twitter at @ZachVanceJCP. Like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/ZachVanceJCP.

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