Meet the Candidates for Wayne County School Board

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   This week in our “Meet the Candidates” series, we are featuring three candidates for seats on the Wayne County School Board. Debbie Brown is running uncontested for the 4th District seat on the board, while Camryn Eaton and Kevin Kelley are the two candidates vying for the 6th District seat.

DEBBIE BROWN

1) You have announced your candidacy to run for a seat representing the 4th District on the Wayne County School Board. As a newcomer in the political arena, what factors helped you decide to run for a seat on the board?

I have been a lifelong educator in Wayne County, having worked 15 years at Collinwood Middle School as a special education instructor and 6 years as the county-wide GEAR UP coordinator.  As the GEAR UP coordinator, I had the privilege to assist students and teachers with college access services at Collinwood High School, Frank Hughes School, and Wayne County High School. Helping people from all three Wayne County communities allowed me to see first-hand what strengths and struggles each community deals with. The past year I took a related job as the West Tennessee GEAR UP Regional Coordinator. I was still fortunate to oversee the Wayne County GEAR UP program but leaving the Wayne County school system enabled me to be eligible to become a school board member. My mother has been a school board member for the past 8 years, and I have seen first-hand the opportunities she has had to influence change and prosperity for our local students and teachers. It is my desire to continue the work our school board has been doing while also sharing my educational insights with other members of the board.

2) A seat on the School Board carries quite a heavy responsibility, with decisions being made that directly affect our children and their education. What is your vision for the future of education in Wayne County, and what would you like to see done to improve our schools?

Having served as a college access counselor for the past several years, my heart lies in seeing that our students are aware of all the opportunities that await them after high school graduation.  Helping them prepare for their futures through rigorous academic and career/technical education courses while also gaining social skills and job-related aptitudes is a primary goal of our school system, and one which I support whole-heartedly. Our schools have done an excellent job incorporating technology into the curriculum, and I hope to see that trend continue as we implement increased distance and virtual learning.

3) Please tell us more about yourself, including your family, your work experience, and what you believe qualifies you for a seat on the Wayne County School Board.

I have lived in Collinwood my entire life. I was married to the late Stan Burns. My parents are Glenn and Pat Brown. I worked for the Wayne County School System for 20 plus years before going to work for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. I strongly believe my work experience combined with my education and love for Wayne County have prepared me for the responsibility of being a school board member. 

CAMRYN EATON

1) You have announced your candidacy to run for a seat representing the 6th District on the Wayne County School Board. As a newcomer in the political arena, what factors helped you decide to run for a seat on the board?

When I decided to pursue the seat of the 6th District School Board Member, much thought and prayers were involved. I had heard that current Board Member Hanback was not running again for the seat. After confirming that he was not running I began to pray and think on if I should run or not. I have always been the one to want to serve others and to be involved in our community. What better way to be involved and to serve at this time than to run for this seat? I have a desire to see our Schools exceed. As well as, provide a great work place for the employees, and our students to have a great place to learn and be successful. My family was very positive and supportive of me running, also those that I talked to in the 6th District seemed encouraging. All these things led me to make my decision to pursue the seat of the 6th District School Board Member. 

2) A seat on the School Board carries quite a heavy responsibility, with decisions being made that directly affect our children and their education. What is your vision for the future of education in Wayne County, and what would you like to see done to improve our schools?

This is a very challenging time for all the staff, educators, and learners, not only in our County, but across the U.S. My vision and goal at this time for Wayne County Educational System is to see it continue to provide top quality education and safety to all of our students, and for a continued safe and encouraging work place for the employees. With anything there is always room for improvements. If given the opportunity, I look forward to working along with the other Board members and staff to ensure that our educational system is successful.

3) Please tell us more about yourself, including your family, your work experience, and what you believe qualifies you for a seat on the Wayne County School Board.

My name is Camryn A. Eaton; I have been a resident of Wayne County all my life. I am the son of Greg and B.J. Kilburn Eaton of Waynesboro, TN. I married the love of my life in 2017, Hannah Horton Eaton. Together we reside in the Cypress Inn community located in the 6th District. I graduated in 2012 from Wayne County High School, I received my Bachelor of Science Degree in 2018 from Welch College. I am currently the Branch Manager at the Wayne County Bank, Collinwood Branch since 2017. I have been employed by the Wayne County Bank since 2014. I have been serving on the Wayne County Equalization Board, and prior to running I was a machine tech during election years for the Wayne County Election Office. Those that know me know that I live and stand for my Savior Jesus Christ. I surrendered to the calling to preach in August, 2011. I have had the opportunity to go to many different churches to preach during this time. In September of 2016 I was given the honor to serve as Pastor of Williams Chapel FWB Church in Iron City, TN where I am currently still pastoring. Serving the Lord is at the very top of my priorities. I choose to stand for Jesus and hope my light shines for Him! I, for one, will tell you I am nothing without Jesus. There are many people that are more qualified than I am to hold this seat, I am sure, but I feel I have the leadership skills and a servant’s heart to represent the people of the 6th District. My grandad, the late Billy Kilburn, had this on his election cards when he ran for county commissioner in the 90’s: “If we meet and you forget me, you have lost nothing but if you meet Jesus Christ and forget him you have lost everything!”  Thank you for your consideration, vote, and support for Camryn A. Eaton, 6th District School Board Member. May God Bless you!

KEVIN KELLEY

1) You have announced your candidacy to run for a seat representing the 6th District on the Wayne County School Board. As a newcomer in the political arena, what factors helped you decide to run for a seat on the board?

My decision to run for a seat on the school board came about largely due to my over 15-year long career as an employee of the Wayne County school system. As a former maintenance technician, I have a vast array of experience working within all the campuses of the Wayne County schools. I have developed many personal relationships with faculty, staff, students, parents, and administrators throughout the course of my career and I feel that my district and the school board as a whole could significantly benefit from gaining a board member with my thorough knowledge of the day to day operations of our school system from the perspective of someone who knows it as an employee and parent.

2) A seat on the School Board carries quite a heavy responsibility, with decisions being made that directly affect our children and their education. What is your vision for the future of education in Wayne County, and what would you like to see done to improve our schools?

As a parent of three children that attended school within the Wayne County school system and the husband of a 15-year teaching paraprofessional, I understand firsthand what an enormous impact the decisions of school board members have on our students, teachers, and community. I would like the future of our education system to focus emphasis on integrating more technology into the curriculum to prevent our students from falling behind in this everchanging digital age, especially with such uncertainty as the Covid-19 pandemic progresses. I also advocate for the wellbeing and utmost safety of our students, and I would like to promote the significance and diversity of vocational programs offered at our Wayne County Technological Center to promote more vast opportunities for our students that are not preparing for post-secondary education.

3) Please tell us more about yourself, including your family, your work experience, and what you believe qualifies you for a seat on the Wayne County School Board.

As a Wayne County native, I had lived here in District Six for over forty years. I grew up on Holly Creek and have lived in the Fairview/Southgate community for the past twenty-two years. I am a graduate of Collinwood High School, and I attended Northwest Shoals Community College. My parents are the late Paul and Linda Kelley, and I have been married to my wife, Amanda Kelley, for twenty-two years. We have three children, Stacie, Kyle, and Katie, who are all graduates of Collinwood High School. My two grandchildren will also attend the Collinwood Schools. I worked diligently for over 15 years as a Wayne County school system employee, prior to accepting my current position with Lawrenceburg Utility Systems. I served the school system first as a maintenance technician at the Collinwood Schools campus, and later as HVAC equipment technician for all of the Wayne County School campuses. I worked daily alongside teachers, students, and administrators in order to keep our schools in pristine condition. Due to the several diverse perspectives I have personally experienced within the Wayne County school system, I have a well-rounded body of knowledge regarding the operations which qualifies me as an excellent candidate for a seat on the school board.