FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — Throughout the last school year, Williamson County School Board members dealt with parents concerned about textbooks, critical race theory, masking and individual family choice.
Those issues trickled into the race this year for the even-number districts, with every board member facing a challenger and one seat open.
One evening Williamson County found itself on the national news, with some of those attending a school board meeting chasing public commenters back to their cars and trying to block them from leaving the parking lot. That meeting discussed the passage of a mask mandate for elementary school students at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.
The race has also featured political action committee money or endorsements from groups like Moms for Liberty, Williamson Families, One Wilco and Williamson Strong.
Dan Cash has held the seat since 2014, when he was elected with a slate of candidates backed by conservative PACs, including Americans for Prosperity. This was prior to elections becoming partisan.
His district comprises more of a rural area of Williamson County, with unincorporated Bethesda and College Grove. When he originally ran, he was staunchly against Common Core. He’s now carrying that same tune with the Wit and Wisdom curriculum the board previously approved.
His opposition Tiffany Eccles ran as an Independent and currently has children attending schools in the district. She hasn’t previously held public office.
Nominated to the board in 2021, Josh Brown is running for his seat for the first time.
He faced Democrat Bob Brittan and Independent candidate Del Wright. Neither of his challengers have held public office previously.
The district primarily covers portions of Franklin east of Interstate 65. It’s nestled between south Brentwood and western Nolensville. District 12 is to the south.
Brown found himself on the school board after Brad Fiscus left the seat. Fiscus and his family left the state after his wife Dr. Shelley Fiscus toiled with the Tennessee Department of Health over COVID-19 protocols for children. The department abruptly fired her, and she later sued.
Brown — the vice president of Pfizer — has three children in the district.
Running again for his seat, Jay Galbreath has been on the board since 2014.
He faced Kristi Bidinger and Deborah Pace, both Independent candidates. Pace originally pulled a petition to run as a Republican, but switched to run as an Independent candidate.
District 6 is primarily the majority of Brentwood and the unincorporated portions of northeast Williamson County.
Leaving her spot on the board, Candy Emerson’s retirement from the board meant an open seat in District 8 for the first time since 2014.
District 8 is a large portion of unincorporated Williamson County, which includes Grassland.
Independent candidate Ken Chilton and Republican Donna Clements have duked it out for the seat.
Two candidates want to take the seat over from incumbent candidate Eric Welch for the District 10 seat.
District 10 consists of portions of a swath of downtown Franklin.
Welch faces Independent challenger William Doc Holladay and Democratic challenger Jennifer Haile. Welch was on the board previously before losing his seat in 2010. He regained the school board seat again in 2018.
Board chair Nancy Nelson Garrett is facing Republican opponent Drason Beasley.
Garrett — a Williamson County native — took over the helm of the school board after former chair Gary Anderson retired from his seat in Nolensville.