Newly-elected District 5 school board member stresses technology upgrade

KNOXVILLE — John Schoonmaker called it “an awesome night” for Knox County Republicans, as three GOP candidates whose service includes Farragut celebrated victory at Crowne Plaza hotel Election night, Thursday, Aug. 4.

Schoonmaker, elected for his first full term as Fifth District County Commissioner, joined Susan Horn, newly-elected District 5 Board of Education representative, and Jason Zachary, GOP primary winner [unopposed] as incumbent state House Representative from the 14th District. Zachary will face Democrat Scott Hacker in the state and federal General Election Tuesday, Nov. 1.

U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., Second Congressional District, also was unopposed in the GOP primary. Duncan, unable to attend the gathering, will face Democrat Stuart Starr in the November General Election.

Horn defeated Reuben “Bud-dy” Pelot in a non-partisan Fifth District contest [61 versus 39 percent].

“I am just grateful and humble that the people of the Fifth District would place their trust in me to represent them and their children on the Board of Education,” Horn said during her roughly 60-second speech to the gathering. “This was definitely a group effort. … Thank you so much.”

After her speech, Horn said, “We definitely need more technology in Farragut schools. Farragut High School roughly has 262 computers for 1,600 students. We are vastly underfunded in that area.

“That’s definitely going to be a conversation.”

Concerning all schools she would represent, expanding technology “is something I would want to speak to each principal about to see if that is the first place they’d put money, or what their priorities are,” Horn, elementary education coordinator at Christ Covenant Church, said.

Concerning feedback, Horn said, “I talk to parents all the time. I feel I’m in touch with parents. … I’m going to want to make sure I have open meetings. … And really getting teachers’ feedback on what they see the priorities are and things they would like to see happen.”

Schoonmaker defeated Democrat Sheri Ridgeway [76 versus 24 percent]. “Eighteen months ago I was appointed, and now I’m a real Knox County Commissioner,” Schoonmaker said during his victory speech.

“Of course I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have the support of my family. My wife, Heather, in the back; my son, Justin, is over here taking pictures and my daughter [Laura], who is an actress, is actually at a rehearsal tonight.”