Tucker McClendon, who graduated in May from UTC, is one of two new members of the Hamilton County School board.
In Thursday’s voting, the 23-year-old won the District 8 seat by 132 votes, 2,612 to 2,480. He defeated the incumbent, 67-year-old David Testerman, who had served two terms on the school board.
Newcomer Jenny Hill won the District 6 seat formerly held by Joe Galloway, who did not seek re-election.
A political science major, McClendon was chairman of government and external affairs for the UTC Student Government Association.
“The election was a rollercoaster,” he told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “I think it put the board on notice that we want some new ideas and fresh faces and can think outside the box. I am ready to do that.”
McClendon lived in District 8 most of his life and graduated from Ooltewah High School in 2013.
“I see a lot of issues in our schools,” he told the Times Free Press during his campaigns. “And it’s been like that and I haven’t seen a lot of changes over the years, and that’s something I want to change for my kids — if I can make any difference now, it’s not only making a difference for my kids, but for everyone.”
Making the school board more transparent to the public was his “No. 1 focus,” he told the paper.
“I think that’s something that the board is lacking,” he said in February. “I think we’ve seen in particular where a lot of stuff is introduced or comes out in the media one or two days before it’s voted on.”