Voters pick who will lead Nashville's school board

Virus Outbreak Tennessee Schools
Posted at 7:05 PM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 23:24:34-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Metro Nashville Public School Board was roiled with COVID-19 and parents' choice quandaries throughout the last two years. Those same issues have bled into this year’s election, though masking requirements have left the classroom.

That has led to competition in this year’s race for the even-numbered districts. Board members John Little and Gini Pupo-Walker didn’t run for re-election, leaving their seats open.


Nashvillians in District 2 had three candidates to choose from Democratic incumbent Rachael Ann Elrod, Republican challenger Todd Pembroke and Independent challenger Edward Arnold.

Elrod was elected in 2018. While Arnold once ran for the seat, it’s the first time Pembroke has vyed for the seat.


Running for Little’s seat, two candidates are wanting a seat on the school board.

Dr. Berthena Nabaa-McKinney was nominated for the seat to serve in 2020, and she is running for the position on the ballot for the first time. She has one child going to MNPS, but has four children who have already graduated from the district.

Her Republican challenger is Kelli Phillips, who has children also in the district.


In the first partisan school board election, incumbent Fran Bush ran as an Independent. She has lost her race.

She has been on the board since 2018, and she faced Democratic challenger Cherly D. Mayes, who previously served on the board from 2010 to 2014.

"I want to make sure that we have a more engaging conversation with our parents and our families, our educators, our support staff. I want to make sure everybody has a voice at the table," Mayes said.


With Walker leaving office, Nashvillians had to pick between options — Democratic nominee Erin O’Hara-Block and Independent nominee Amy Pate.

Block has lived in the district for nearly two decades and has degrees in education policy and worked in the field under Gov. Phil Bredesen and the Tennessee Department of Education. Pate is a graduate of MNPS and has three children in the district. She previously served as a PTO president.

"It's really important we make sure we are communicating very clearly with constituents, with parents and with families about how things are going in the district and make sure we are making the progress we need to be making," Block said.

Emily Luxen contributed to this report.