School Board member Tanya Bess comes from the corporate world, but she says she knows the power of education. When asked what led her to run for this position, Bess said it was her young daughter who prompted her. Bess wanted to show her the importance of giving back to the community.
To learn more about School Board member Tanya Bess, check out this week’s snapshot.
Q: Briefly describe yourself.
A: I am a native to Warren County. Graduated in 1986. I went to MTSU and have worked for Edward Jones Investments for almost 20 years. I’m married to Randy Bess, have two children, and we live in the Irving College community.
Q: What are your hobbies/ interests?
A: I enjoy camping, the beach, flowers and gardening.
Q: Who was your favorite teacher?
A: Linda King touched everybody. She was my algebra teacher and student council advisor and she did not stop until you understood the concept.
Q: What did you enjoy most about school?
A: English was always my favorite subject, but I enjoyed the interaction with all the people most of all.
Q: What are a few of your favorite things?
A: Old quilts, things that people may call junk that bring back sweet memories like spice cans and flavoring bottles.
Q: What’s a hot topic in education right now and why?
A: Vouchers is always a hot topic and I’m not an advocate of vouchers because I want to see the public school system succeed and have all the dollars they can get for public education. In Warren County specifically, I think we address issues promptly and as they come up. I think we are proactive rather than being reactive.
Q: For those who don’t know, what does a School Board member do?
A: We have two main jobs – set board policy and then we are the employer to Bobby Cox. We do much more, but those are the two main jobs we have as elected officials.
Q: How long have you been on the board?
A: I’m in my third year of my second term.
Q: What’s it like being a School Board member? (Best part, challenging part)
A: The most rewarding part is seeing our children succeed. Most challenging overall is getting the public to understand that we don’t hire or fire. We are there for policy, but that part is ultimately not our decision.
Q: Was there anything surprising to you when you became a board member?
A: I didn’t know anything when I became a board member and I had no agenda. I was just there to learn and do the best job I could. It bombards you in the first two years with a lot of information, but it’s wonderful to go to classes and conferences and learn about what other districts are doing and we began to see how far advanced our district is in comparison to others or not, either or.
Q: What question do you get asked most frequently by the public?
A: Most of the time when individuals contact me, they are upset and have a concern. My biggest problem is they want me to go to bat for them, but they want to remain anonymous. I really feel like our school system wants to help everybody, but if you believe in what you’re talking to me about, then you’ve got to be willing to stand up and submit your name. Let’s go together and let’s tackle that concern.
Q: What are your priorities for the district in the coming year?
A: Higher ACT scores.
Q: What is one project you’d like to see completed?
A: My ultimate goal would be to complete one project at a school and complete it in its entirety. We do what we can with what we have and then we go to the next school. I would love to fix schools to the point that we don’t have to come back to that school for a little while.
Q: Best way to contact you?