School Board Races Set

By Bill Dries

The chairman of the countywide school board, Billy Orgel, has effectively won election to his District 7 school board seat without opposition.


Five other incumbents appointed to the seven-district school board seats by the Shelby County Commission filed for re-election at the Thursday, April 5, filing deadline.

District 5 school board member Vanecia Kimbrow was the only incumbent who did not file in the nonpartisan races after earlier checking out a petition.

Kimbrow’s absence in District 5 sets up a race between former Shelby County Schools board chairman David Pickler and Kim Wirth of the Memphis City Schools Education Foundation as well as Edgar Babian for the only open seat on the board.

Pickler was one of five members of the old Memphis City Schools or Shelby County Schools boards who considered running for the seven seats that will become the entire countywide school board once the two school systems are consolidated in August 2013.

Those elected to the seats in the Aug. 2 elections begin their staggered terms of office on Sept. 1 on the 23-member transition board. The transition board includes all of the members of the two former boards. But those 16 positions are eliminated as of Sept. 1 in the transition to consolidation.

Former MCS board member Freda Williams is among three challengers to incumbent Chris Caldwell. The other two contenders are Michael Donohoe and Noel Hutchinson.

Former MCS board member Kenneth Whalum Jr. filed to run for the District 4 seat now held by Kevin Woods who is seeking election.

Former MCS board member Betty Mallott also considered the race but had not filed by Thursday’s deadline. The other challenger is Russell R. Jones.

Former SCS board member David Reaves, along with Gregory Ritter, is challenging District 3 incumbent Raphael McInnis.

District 6 incumbent Reginald Porter Jr. faces a challenge from Jonathan Lewis.

And District 2 incumbent Teresa Jones has opposition from Tyree Daniels and Eric Dunn.