RuCo Steering Committee selects Tim Holden for interim school board seat

Murfreesboro resident Tim Holden was recommended by the county Steering Committee to serve as an interim member of the Rutherford County Board of Education.

The Rutherford County Steering Committee voted 6-1 to recommend former county school board candidate Tim Holden to fill the Zone 3 vacancy following Lisa Moore’s resignation from the Rutherford County School Board.

The committee’s recommendation will go before the full county commission for final approval. Holden said he plans to seek re-election next year if his recommendation is confirmed.

Holden, a Buchanan Community resident of 40 years, was one of four applicants seeking the position, among Ross Bradley, Jotrone Marable and Christopher Whitaker. He and Bradley were the only two candidates present for the committee’s interview.

Holden ran for a seat on the Rutherford County School Board in 2012 and lost by 68 votes to Lisa Blankenship.

Each candidate answered a few questions from committee members related to current issues seen in school systems locally and at the national level, including Critical Race Theory, charter school vouchers and the right for school boards to raise taxes.

Holden was clear on his stance against Critical Race Theory being taught in the classroom, stating that he “could never sign on to a legislation that picks winners and losers because of the color of your skin.”

He said he wouldn’t be “totally opposed” to school vouchers but would likely be opposed to RCS having taxing authority, in favor of the county commission maintaining that jurisdiction.

The recent legislation regarding partisan school board elections prompted Chairman Craig Harris to ask Holden about his political affiliations.

He said he disagrees with this bill but is “more aligned” the Republican Party.

Holden, who has worked as a machinist and manufacturing engineer, said having a citizen take the seat rather than a politician would come with its advantages.

“I think you can connect with the average parent a little better, you know, nowadays it’s really volatile. You suspect this, you suspect that, and I’m not saying it’s valid, but I think just a good ole guy, who’s lived here for 40 years might be a fresh face on the board of education,” said Holden.

He currently works as a sales project manager for Hamilton Machine Co. and will soon work as a CAD operator for Irby Electric in La Vergne.

He is a self-described “huge fan” of Career Technical Education in hopes of lessening the gap in educational opportunities for students who may not be interested in attending college.

The success of the high school’s Mechatronics Program is further proof for him that it’s a valuable asset to interested students.

“We tested kids, and we thought we might have 25 or 30, and we had 100 that tested good, so this old adage of just, you know, kids don’t care about that no more. I don’t believe that,” said Holden.

He’s previously held no governmental office, according to his vacancy application, but has experience in the areas of engineering, maintenance and budgeting.

He’s been involved with the RCS Policy Committee and played a part in bringing the Mechatronics program to Oakland High School with the Middle Tennessee Manufacturing Leadership Council.

He and his wife, Pam, are both Riverdale High School graduates.

Their daughter, Coreen King, graduated from Oakland High. The couple now has two grandsons, one of whom is enrolled in RCS.

Pam is a supervisor of custodial services at Murfreesboro City Schools.

Holden was selected by every member except Mike Kusch.

Salary study approved

The committee also voted to approve a salary and benefits study that will cost the county just under $25,000.

The study is to be conducted by Burris, Thompson and Associates and will compare the wages within the county to those of 18 other Tennessee cities and counties.

“It would look at all of our positions, the number of people within those positions, their tenure, seniority, supervisory authority, all those different things based on whichever entities this body decides they want to be in comparison to,” said Stephenson.

She said the county currently pays its employees at the 50th percentile.

“It’s happening all across the country. You can find people all day long that want a paycheck, but you cannot find people that want to work for what they get paid,” said Commissioner Michael Wrather. “It’s happening everywhere.”