Filings continue for Collierville school board seat as one drops out

By , Daily Memphian Updated: August 14, 2020 11:20 AM CT | Published: August 14, 2020 4:00 AM CT

Four Collierville residents have pulled petitions so far for the Position 3 school board seat being vacated by board chairman Mark Hansen, who has announced he will not seek another term.

Mark Hansen will not seek reelection for Collierville Schools board

Potential candidates have until Aug. 20 to pull petitions and file with sufficient signatures. Eelco Van Wijk, who previously pulled a petition, confirmed he does not plan to file and will not seek election.

Several of those seeking the seat sought a different seat, Position 1, when former member Kevin Vaughan stepped down because of his duties as a state representative. Wanda Gibbs, who is seeking re-election, was chosen for the post.

Any candidate can file for any seat on the school board.

<strong>Paul Childers</strong>

Paul Childers

Among those who had sought Vaughan’s seat and have filed for Position 3 this year, Paul Childers said his decision to run in November is not due to recent events involving the coronavirus and school reopening plans.

“I’ve always loved this place,” Childers said. “It’s a part of who I am. I’ve always wanted to serve the community. I love it.”

Childers grew up in Collierville, and he attended Collierville Elementary School and Collierville Middle School before graduating from Collierville High. He moved away from the Memphis area before he and his wife returned after 20 years. The school district drew them back to Collierville.

His two children attend Collierville Elementary and Collierville High School.

He said a lot has been put into the foundation of the schools, but he wants to “carry the torch forward.”

Professionally, Childers is a region manager for Goodman Corporation, a subsidiary of Daikin Industries – an air conditioning manufacturing company. Childers has received sufficient signatures and filed his petition.

<strong>Rachelle Maier</strong>

Rachelle Maier

Rachelle Maier also applied for the Position 1 seat when Vaughan resigned. She was a finalist and had an interview with aldermen. 

“My heart is for children and youth,” Maier said.

Before becoming the community relations coordinator with senior helpers, she spent a decade at Youth Villages.

Maier has four children — two at Crosswind Elementary and two at West Collierville Middle School. She served as room parent, but also served on the Parent Teacher Association and became the PTA president at Crosswind. She has served various organizations in the area, including Collierville Education Foundation.

Collierville ballot begins to take shape

“That’s where my heart is — our children and giving them the best start they can possibly get (before college),” she said.

Maier has also served on the Parks Advisory Board, the Beautification Commission, the Collierville Arts Council and Collierville Literacy Council.

“All (of those commissions) connected to my first love – children and families,” she said.

<strong>Kristina White</strong>

Kristina White

Kristina White has also pulled a petition and filed with sufficient signatures earlier this week. She moved to Collierville in February from East Memphis for her children to attend Collierville Schools. Her son will be in kindergarten at Collierville Elementary this year.

Her decision to run was fairly recent and spurred by the debate of reopening schools.

“It’s nothing I ever thought of until the night I went to that school board meeting, and I decided to give it a shot,” she said.

White spoke during the July 28 school board meeting, and she received support from fellow parents afterwards. She also received support when the video of her address was shared on social media.

Collierville Board of Education expresses preference for in-person classes

“I feel like I have a lot I could bring to the school board,” she said. “(The current board members) have done a fantastic job, and I feel like I could bring more to the table.”

<strong>Madan Birla</strong>

Madan Birla

White attended public schools in Cordova. Professionally, she is a clinical device surgical specialist for Medtronic. In her role, she works with both doctors and patients. 

Madan Birla is the fourth candidate who has pulled a petition and filed. He was also a finalist and interviewed for the Position 1 seat following Vaughan’s resignation.

In other school board races on the ballot, in addition to Gibbs seeking re-election, Wright Cox is seeking re-election for Position 5. According to the most recent report from Shelby County Election Commission, they are the only ones intending to run for those positions.

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Collierville Schools Collierville Board of Education Paul Childers Rachelle Maier Kristina White 2020 municipal elections

Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren is a lifelong resident of Shelby County and a graduate of the University of Memphis. She has worked for several local publications and covers the suburbs for The Daily Memphian.


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