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Two Franklin School Board members stepping down


The Franklin City School Board can expect to see at least one new face come July.

Andrea Hall-Leonard, who serves as vice chairwoman and the board’s Ward 3 representative, has served three consecutive terms and is therefore ineligible for reappointment according to Franklin’s City Code. Rebecca Jester, who represents Ward 1 of the city, has not reached the three-term limit but also plans to step down.

Franklin, which has an appointed school board rather than an elected one, solicited nominations for both seats during a public hearing at Monday’s City Council meeting. Bob Holt, who had served as the city’s Ward 6 school board representative through April 2019, and now resides in Ward 1, received six nominations for the Ward 1 seat, three of which came from current school board members. Vindy Taylor, who has appeared on the Christian Broadcasting Network over the past 17 years, also nominated herself for the Ward 1 seat.

Cheryl Vincent, grandmother to a 10-year-old girl who will start school at J.P. King Jr. Middle School this fall, nominated herself for the Ward 3 seat on the School Board. Vincent, a 45-year resident of Franklin, had until May had served as board president of the Franklin Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Jamal Brian Whitehurst, who plans to begin a doctoral degree in 2021, also nominated himself for the Ward 3 seat.

“Although it is my desire to remain committed to servant leadership, my role as wife and mother of six children takes priority at this time,” Hall-Leonard said. “It is my desire to see Franklin City Public Schools continue to move forward in serving students and families, and remain dedicated to delivering excellence. Congratulations to students, families and school administration, and school division leadership on recent promotions and high school graduation during a very tumultuous time, which includes mandatory school closure due to COVID-19 pandemic and the upheaval of our nation as we seek to find solutions to eliminate systemic racism.”

Jester likewise cited work and family commitments as the reason behind her decision to step down.

The City Council members scheduled interviews with each of the four candidates for Monday, June 15.