From STAFF REPORTS
A lifelong resident of Washington County and a graduate of Daniel Boone High School, District candidate Kerrie Aistrop feels that she will contribute to the school board in various ways.
“Before my oldest son started school, all I knew about school was from my experience as a student. Once he started, I saw that there was a real need for parents and the community to get involved in the education of our children. We owe it to our children to pay attention to their daily school lives, and to speak up for them when necessary,” Aistrop said. “Washington County is full of excellent teachers and staff; however, all our children are different and have varied needs and capabilities. It’s important that parents and teachers have an open and transparent line of communication to ensure that we are doing what’s best for every single child.”
A graduate of East Tennessee State University and Lincoln Memo- rial University, Aistrop has been married to her husband Jamie for almost 20 years, and the two have two children, Logan who is 13 and Jackson who
is 11, both who attend Washington County Schools. Which adds to her advocacy for the new Jonesborough School that is underway.
“I have been a strong advocate for the new Jonesborough School since the day it was first discussed. Watching the funding models and design ideas get kicked down the road was very frustrating. I spent years attending every WCDE and County Commission meeting I could and spoke about the need for a solution every time I had the chance.”
“When the Town of Jonesborough presented their solution, I was beyond ecstatic, but I wasn’t going to give up until I saw dirt being moved. I was fortunate enough to be able to speak as a Parent Representative at the Groundbreaking Ceremony,” she said. “That day was the highlight of my fight for the children. It’s so exciting to drive by the site and see things moving forward as quickly as they are. The Jonesborough children and staff deserve it, and I look forward to seeing the halls filled with kids.”
With her background in sales consultation, Aistrop feels that she will be a good candidate to handle budgets and relationships with the Washington County Commission.
“One of main goals will be to focus on the budget. I want to build a better relationship with the County Commission that will allow us to work more closely during the budget process. I would like to in- crease the transparency of the work the School Board is doing. I would like to create parent and teacher groups that represent each school,” she said. “I want teacher and parents to feel more welcome, and to understand that their voice and opinions matter when it comes to our schools. I want to change the process for parents to address the school board. I want parents to feel like we value their thoughts, and I don’t think each request to address the board needs to be approved by the Chairman.
“Much like the Com- mission, I believe parents and community members should be allowed to sign up to address the board the night of the meeting. Another main goal of mine will be to acknowledge the shortage we have of teachers and staff. As a board, we would need to come together to find better ways to incentivize and retain our school employees. Above all else, student safety is a main concern. Fighting, bully- ing, and vaping are major issues in our schools. We must act swiftly to come up with a plan to address these problems so that our teachers and students can feel safer in class.” Additionally, Aistrop wants to be a strong leader within, not only the school board, but also the community.
“I have proven myself to be a leader in the community. I can listen to all sides and then work to come up with a solution that works for the majority. I’ve been heavily involved in Washington County Schools for over seven years,” said Aistrop. “I’m a strong believer that we must put the priority on our students. The children walking the halls of Washington County Schools are the future of our communities, county, and country. We should all feel compelled to serve them to the best of our ability for their future and ours.”
Aistrop’s tie to the region and history in Washington County is another reason she wants to serve the area.
“I love East Tennessee and Washington County and all the region has to offer. I’ve traveled to many places around the country, and I’ve never seen a more friendly population that has so much to offer,” she said. “I think if we can tap into what our community members have to offer, and get them engaged in our schools, the sky is the limit for what Washington County Schools can offer.
“In closing, I would like to say that I am a caring and compassionate person that would be honored to have the opportunity to serve on the Washington County School Board.”