Thursday evening, six of the seven candidates who are running for an open school board seat debated in a public forum. They're running for an interim seat to represent the Second District.
Indya Kincannon resigned from the board last month to move overseas with her family.
The Knox County Education Association hosted the forum to give the public and county commissioners an idea of who's in the running and allow the candidates to speak about their platforms.
PREVIOUS: Knox BOE member Kincannon stepping down
"Our constituents have to deal with teachers and we try to be sure our students are represented as well. Whoever sits on that District Two school board seat will not only be representing the teachers but also the students of District Two," said Tanya T. Coates, president of KCEA.
Next up, the county commission will interview applicants on Monday.
The commissioners are expected to pick an interim school board member August 25th. The winner will serve in the seat until November, then voters will get to decide who will fill that position permanently.
Here's a snapshot of the candidates:
· Juanita Cannon, a 40-year educator who spent decades serving as a principal, assistant principal and teacher in the Knox County school system.
· Emma Ellis-Cosigua, an office manager with JIG-Insurance Group, she also facilitates a college readiness class for middle school children and an adult ESL class for immigrants.
· Charlotte Dorsey, a former Knox County school administrator who spent decades in the system as a teacher, assistant principal and principal.
· John Fugate, vice president of Commercial Bank in Fountain City.
· Laura Kildare, a former Knox County school teacher who is currently working on her doctorate degree in special education.
· Tracie Sanger, a special education teacher in the Knox County school system and field experience supervisor for Tusculum College.
· Jennifer Searle, a current board member on the Knox County Schools Clothing Center PTA, and a regular school volunteer.
· Rick Staples, a Knox County Sheriff's Office deputy who helped inmates obtain their GED.
· Elizabeth Lane, a former employee of Texaco and Shell Oil, working in administration and supervision.
· Diana Ray, a former community development manager for the Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians.