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Anna Shepherd

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Anna Shepherd
Anna Shepherd.jpg
Board member, Metropolitan Nashville Board of Education, District 4
Term ends
Elections and appointments
Last electionAugust 7, 2014
Next generalAugust 2018
Term limitsN/A
Office website
Campaign website

Anna Shepherd is the District 4 incumbent on the Metropolitan Nashville Board of Education in Tennessee. She defeated challengers Rhonda F. Dixon and Pam Swoner in the general election on August 7, 2014.


Shepherd is an active community member, having participated in various organizations over the past 25 years. She and her husband, Larry, have three children.[1]



See also: Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools elections (2014)


The August 7, 2014, general election ballot for District 2 included incumbent Jo Ann Brannon and candidates Edward Arnold and Bernie Driscoll. The District 4 ballot included incumbent Anna Shepherd and candidates Rhonda F. Dixon and Pam Swoner. District 6 incumbent Cheryl Mayes faced Tyese R. Hunter. The District 8 ballot included candidates Mary Pierce and Becky Sharpe.


Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, District 4, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngAnna Shepherd Incumbent 38.4% 2,348
     Nonpartisan Rhonda F. Dixon 35.1% 2,151
     Nonpartisan Pam Swoner 26.2% 1,603
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.3% 19
Total Votes 6,121
Source: Davidson County Election Commission, "Unofficial Results," accessed August 7, 2014 These election results are unofficial. They will be updated once certified election results are available.


The Nashville Election Commission does not publish and freely disclose school board candidate campaign finance reports.


Shepherd was endorsed by the Metro Nashville Education Association, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Women In Numbers and Stand For Children, a local action group.

Campaign themes

Shepherd stated the following as major issues facing the district on her website:[2]

McGavock High School
McGavock High School is the shining star of our zoned high schools. In the last 5 years McGavock has risen to the top in the areas of test scores and graduation rates. McGavock was the first HS to have all their Academies Named and Branded by the National Academy Accreditation Consortium. McGavock was the only HS to earn the top score of 10 by the NACC ranking their academies the best. There is no one reason why the President of the United States came to visit McGavock in January of this year! There are several reasons he visited McGavock HS! The success stories and programs arising from McGavock HS are being brought into the four middle schools that feed into McGavock HS and they are turning around in achievement and retention. The McGavock Cluster has the only AICE Programme Continuum in the state of Tennessee beginning at Hermitage Elementary, moving to Donelson Middle School and finally McGavock HS. The AICE Programme offers a rigorous course of study for advanced students. The schools in the McGavock Cluster enjoy great community support from our Donelson Hermitage Chamber of Commerce to the various churches and civic organizations who partner with schools to provide what is necessary for these students. These initiatives and success stories are what is keeping the McGavock Cluster moving with such a positive momentum. That momentum needs to keep moving forward. I have been involved in this momentum and will continue to do so as long as I am representing District 4 on the Board of Education.

Local Control
Locally elected officials know their constituents and know the issues inherent to their districts which is why a locally-elected school board should be the decision makers when in comes to our schools and students. Local Boards of Education (BOE) are constantly threatened with groups and legislators at the state level who want to wrestle that control away from the local decision makers. Local Boards know the issues inherent to their local culture and therefore should have the final decision. Just this past legislative session our legislators passed a law giving the State BOE final say in the approval of charter schools. MNPS has a stringent, and in my personal opinion the best vetting process, for approving charter schools. The local BOE does not deny many charter school applicants and when we do it is for a very good reason. Usually we are concerned that something is not in place to make this applicant successful in teaching our children. Yet, if a charter schools is denied FOR WHATEVER REASON, they can appeal to the State BOE and possibly be approved. The State BOE does not take any responsibility for these charter schools that they approve. That responsibility still lies with the local district. In my personal opinion, this action is akin to an un-funded mandate. Keep Local Control Local.

Middle Schools
In the past five years our high schools have been our success stories. With the implementation of the Academy Model in our zoned high schools, graduation rates have increased, true learning is taking place, and our students are excelling. Now it is time to craft that same success to the zoned middle schools. We have started that initiative already with the selection of Ambassadors now in our middle schools. One of my goals, when re-elected is to see more initiatives that are successful on the high school level be implemented at the middle school levels keeping in mind that the audience is younger and has different needs. It is no secret in the educational community that the middle school years can be the most challenging. The minds of these middle-school children are growing by leaps and bounds. These students need direction and need a special leader or leaders at their schools to ensure that they have everything that they need and have a successful learning experience. Some Middle Schools in the District, and particularly in the McGavock Cluster, have suffered some set-backs 4 to 5 years ago. Since I was elected to the BOE, I have ensured that we have the faculty and staff necessary to deal with this sector of our population so that these students have a successful learning experience while they are in middle school. I will continue to keep a sharp eye on the function and experiences at our middle schools. One year in the education life of a child is too long to waste it! [3]

What was at stake?

Issues in the election

Outside spending and charter schools

As debating over charter school regulations has increased in recent years, more outside money was funneled into school board races in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. This is a drastic contrast to years back, when races were generally described as low-cost and low-stake. As of June 2014, CEOs, investors, business executives, doctors, lawyers, parents and homemakers have all pooled over a quarter million dollars into this year's school board races. And those with the biggest contributions in their war chests were candidates on board with charter schools. Candidates Rhonda F. Dixon, Bernie Driscoll, Tyese R. Hunter and Mary Pierce maintained a positive view on charter schools and their effect on the district, while incumbents Jo Ann Brannon, Cheryl Mayes, Anna Shepherd and candidate Becky Sharpe were less enthusiastic about their implementation. The Nashville Chamber of Commerce contributed a significant amount of money into the race, splitting $30,000 up amongst the three incumbent board members and District 6 candidate Mary Pierce.[4]

Views on Common Core

A large issue in the Metropolitan Nashville school board race proved to be Common Core, with candidates expressing varying views on how the district should respond to the national education standard. District 4 candidate Pam Swoner maintained that the standards are too confusing for children, saying that the nation, "[needs] to go back to a basic structure where there is fundamental information given to the children and give them some time outside so they can run and play and make them happy.” District 2 candidate Bernie Driscoll differed from Swoner, claiming that the standards aren't stringent enough. All three incumbents who ran for re-election, Jo Ann Brannon in District 2, Anna Shepherd in District 4 and Cheryl Mayes in District 6 stand behind Common Core. According to Mayes, those who oppose the standards "don’t really understand it."[5]

About the district

See also: Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, Tennessee
Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools is located in Davidson County, Tennessee
Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools is located in Davidson County, Tennessee. The county seat of Davidson County is Nashville. Davidson County is home to 626,681 residents, according to the United States Census Bureau.[6] Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools is the second-largest school district in Tennessee, serving 80,393 students during the 2011-2012 school year.[7]


Davidson County overperformed in comparison to the rest of Tennessee in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 35.0 percent of Davidson County residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 23.5 percent for Tennessee as a whole. The median household income in Davidson County was $46,676 compared to $44,140 for the state of Tennessee. The poverty rate in Davidson County was 18.5 percent compared to 17.3 percent for the entire state.[6]

Racial Demographics, 2012[6]
Race Davidson County (%) Tennessee (%)
White 65.8 79.3
Black or African American 28.1 17.0
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.5 0.4
Asian 3.2 1.6
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 2.2 1.6
Hispanic or Latino 9.9 4.8

Presidential Voting Pattern, Davidson County[8]
Year Democratic Vote Republican Vote
2012 143,120 97,622
2008 158,423 102,915
2004 132,737 107,839
2000 120,508 84,117

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[9] This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.

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