ROGERSVILLE — Two incumbents and one challenger are seeking the three contested seats in the Rogersville Board of Education election Tuesday.
BOE Vice Chairman Todd Biggs said he is running for a second term on the BOE because he loves Rogersville City School, and with his children currently in the fourth and seventh grades, he has a vested interested in the success of the school.
Biggs graduated from Cherokee High School in 1988 and then attended the University of Tennessee for three years before earning a doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of Tennessee, Memphis, in 1995. Since then he has worked as a pharmacist and is currently employed at Wellmont Health System.
“I would like to see the school continue its excellent history,” Biggs said. “I believe that the Rogersville City School has the best staff, teachers, administration and students of any school. I want to be able to help the school follow its mission statement ‘to cultivate students to reach the highest possible level of academic achievement, character, wellness and to be successful in the 21st century world.’”
Biggs added, “I would like to be able to help navigate the school through the challenges that are ahead such as the Common Core standards. At the same time, I would like to accomplish these goals in a manner that is responsible and accountable for the taxpayers’ money.”
Biggs said he believes his educational background and previous experience on the board make him a good candidate. He said he has the knowledge, leadership and courage to make the tough decisions that must be faced when dealing with difficult situations.
“I have been involved with the Rogersville City School as a student, parent and now as a board member,” Biggs said. “I am proud of the fact that the Rogersville City School was recently recognized as a 2011-12 Reward school — being in the top 5 percent of schools in the state for annual growth and the top 5 percent for academic achievement — by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. Education in my opinion is the great equalizer in this world because with a good education children can achieve any goal.”
The lone challenger is retired college professor Dr. Mahima Kundu, who said he chose to run for the BOE because he believes Rogersville City School will benefit from his more than 40 years of experience in public schools and universities.
Kundu holds a doctorate, two master of education degrees, and an M.S. in education with specialization of all major areas of education. He was a college professor at several universities dating back to 1964, and prior to that worked as a public school teacher beginning in 1951.
Most recently, Kundu served as an educational specialist for the Department of the Army, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Aberdeen, Md., from 1979 to 1994.
“As an educator and professor of education for the last 20 years, I am exceedingly familiar with school systems, politics of education at school levels in our nation and abroad which qualify me for a better elected official to serve the Rogersville City School community and the betterment of our student population,” Kundu said.
If elected, Kundu said his goal for the next four years will be to oversee the success of all educational endeavors for the wholesome education of the school population so that RCS becomes the best in the nation.
Kundu added, “My particular concern is to establish legitimate discipline in youth, to promote their sufficiency in education; to help to eliminate the ‘Bullying problems in school-age population’; and establish law and order in the school as our school in the nation is a miniature society.”
“I am not a politician or a political animal per se,” Kundu said. “I am a scholar, educator and dedicated individual to serve the youth of our schools. It is that simple. I believe in the teachings of Jesus that all youth, poor and rich, intelligent and ignorant, handicapped (physically and mentally) are all teachable and can be a success. I humbly inform that I was and am a Fulbright Scholar and professor of education for life.”
The other incumbent seeking re-election is Chairman Reed Matney, who has served on the RCS BOE for the past 24 years. Matney said he is seeking re-election to a seventh term because he wants to continue to be a part of one of the finest schools in our area.
Matney is retired with 41 years experience in the banking industry and has a bachelor of science degree from East Tennessee State University and a graduate degree from LSU Banking School of the South. He also attended RCS and Rogersville High School.
His position on the school board is his only political experience.
“I view this position more as community service than a political office,” Matney said. “I would like to continue to contribute to the success of Rogersville City School and the teachers and staff who have made the school one of the finest in the state of Tennessee. I have served on this board for the past 24 years. I am a lifelong resident of Rogersville and very committed to maintaining the quality of education in our community.”
Matney added, “I view this position as a way to give back to the community that has provided a great place to live and raise a family.”