Letter To My Neighbors

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Dear Neighbor,

In 2016, my excitement for the new year includes the potential for positive change for our communities and students in Knox County Schools. I hope you will join me in driving that change by electing me to represent the Second District on the Board of Education.

It is important that the Board focus on making decisions in the best interests of our students. We must work to attract and retain great educators and give them the autonomy to make instructional decisions in their classrooms. At the same time, the Board must repair relationships with our community.

Put the focus where it belongs: on students.
During my 23 years teaching in Tennessee (18 in Knox Co.), I helped students gain the confidence to think critically and solve problems on their own. It became impossible to do that while being required to treat them as “data points.” Students are much more than data – and I could not –  would not – treat them as less. I resigned from KCS, hoping to help our school board, legislators, and community understand the complex needs of students and public schools. 

Let our teachers teach.
Quality public schools are necessary for maintaining a strong, viable, democracy. Our Board must ensure that every child receives an appropriate education which meets his or her needs, while supporting policies and programs that promote the development and well-being of all children. The Board must work to attract and keep great teachers by allowing them to use their specialized skills to make instructional decisions which are in the best interests of the students in their classrooms.

Repair community relationships by being representative, accountable, and transparent.
Government systems must be representative, accountable, and transparent – at every level. A Board that functions with any kind of voting bloc, is none of those. We must end “us” against “them” games and work together. As an involved voter, I know you expect elected officials to act with integrity and fiduciary responsibility. To do that, the Board must also be open and transparent in all actions.

I hope you will help me begin to rebuild community confidence by electing me to be your 2nd District Board of Education representative on March 1st. As your representative, I will work to ensure students come first and that the interests of our students and communities guide every decision.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and concerns, regarding Knox County Schools. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Jennifer Owen