Board of Education candidates speak to Chelsea Kiwanis

Four Board of Education candidates spoke to the Chelsea Kiwanis Club April 19. The candidates, all of whom are Republican, are running for the open Place 1 and Place 2 spots on the board.

Place 1 candidates who spoke were incumbent David Nichols and challenger Jane Hampton, while Place 2 candidates were incumbent Anne Glass and challenger Aubrey Miller. Place 2 candidate Nicke Gaspers was unable to attend the meeting.

Nichols spoke first, saying he doesn’t consider himself a politician; rather, he considers himself a public servant.

“I’m going to make a pledge to you today. It may sound a little clichéd, but it’s from my heart,” he said. “I pledge to be accessible. I have been accessible.”

He said his youth in Montevallo, on the “lower end of the socioeconomic ladder,” helped him understand how important schools are to the Shelby County community.

“My pledge is to maintain dignity and integrity. Any decision I made has been and will be for the good of the students,” Nichols said.

Hampton, who spoke next, said since she is retired, she could devote the time necessary to be an effective school board member. She said she understands how quickly the county is growing and realizes schools must grow to meet that demand.

“You in Chelsea are just now learning what we went through in Pelham and at Oak Mountain,” she said. “It’s just growing so fast.”

Glass said she approaches her Board of Education duties from a mother’s perspective and as a parent with a tremendous amount of respect for educators. Local schools have done a lot for her family, she said.

“Because of Shelby County schools, my son has been offered eight scholarships,” she said. “I really am a servant to all the people in this community.”

Miller said his connection with county education has been through his wife, Beverly, the principal at Vincent Elementary School, and his children, who went to local schools.

“You can’t just focus on the students and the teachers, because the family is an important part of the educational process, and you can’t forget the administrators, because they’re part of the process too,” he said.

Miller said county schools, while excellent, are still facing some critical issues, such as funding.

“We need to reenergize the Shelby Education Foundation so we can meet the financial needs of our schools,” he said. “There are critical issues facing us, and I don’t have all the answers. What I do bring to the table, along with my opponents, is a high level of integrity.”

The Republican primary is June 1. There are no Democratic contenders for the Board of Education seats.