Nashville School Board Chair Ousted, Two New Faces Added
Cheryl Mayes was elected as chair of the MNPS board following the defeat of former chair Gracie Porter in 2012. Credit: MNPS

Nashville School Board Chair Ousted, Two New Faces Added

Cheryl Mayes was elected as chair of the MNPS board following the defeat of former chair Gracie Porter in 2012. Credit: MNPS
Cheryl Mayes was elected as chair of the MNPS board following the defeat of former chair Gracie Porter in 2012. Credit: MNPS

For the second election cycle in a row, the chair of Nashville’s school board has been voted out of office.

Thursday night, Cheryl Mayes was defeated by challenger Tyese Hunter, a TSU speech pathologist. Mayes has been an ally of superintendent Jesse Register. Hunter enjoyed the backing of charter school advocates. She has three kids in Metro Schools, including one at a charter.

Board members Anna Shepherd and Jo Ann Brannon fended off their challengers. And in the one open seat, Mary Pierce pulled off a win over Becky Sharpe in the most expensive school board race of the year. Pierce raised $100,000 and says she needed every penny.

“I would not have been able to reach the targeted voters and strategically do that without the campaign budget that I had,” she told WPLN.

The 8th District race in Green Hills involved lots of money but it also became rather intense, with the teachers union backing Sharpe and charter school advocates supporting Pierce. As a new board member, Pierce says she wants to be a bridge builder.

“I mean I feel like I will be able to have relationships with each board member and work together,” she said. “That is the absolute goal, and I’m committed to that.”

In Williamson County, one incumbent was also voted off the school board. Pat Anderson lost to Candace Emerson.

Blake Farmer

Blake Farmer is WPLN's assistant news director, but he wears many hats - reporter, editor and host. He covers the Tennessee state capitol while also keeping an eye on Fort Campbell and business trends, frequently contributing to national programs. Born in Tennessee and educated in Texas, Blake has called Nashville home for most of his life.
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