MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- There is an interesting race heating up for the district three seat on the Shelby County School Board. It could bring the state-run Achievement School District, tasked with turning around schools, into the discussion.
The race pits a School Board Member who has called for a moratorium on the ASD against a woman who works at an ASD school.
"A lot of people call me a critic of the ASD. I don't see myself as a critic. I see myself as a concerned parent, as a concerned elected official, and I'm advocating to make sure every educational entity that has a hand on our children are being held accountable and being held to the same standards," said School Board member Stephanie Love.
Love, a licensed cosmetologist, tried to block the ASD from taking over additional SCS schools until it could show "consistent progress."
She has two kids enrolled in a Shelby County school and two children who attend an ASD school, though one of them has graduated.
Her challenger is Sharon Fields, the Founding Office Manager and Family Coordinator at Libertas School of Memphis.
That is an ASD school.
Fields told WREG she was too busy to go on camera Monday but sent responses via email.
Regarding her ASD affiliation, she said, "I have entered this race because all three of my children are products of our public schools. I know the struggles our families face with the schools in our community and I see how some of those schools have failed our children. I love my community and am running for School Board to serve my friends and family that call this area their home."
Meanwhile, Love declined to comment about her opponent directly but said this of her own time on the board.
"Advocating for more transparency, advocating for more resources in the district, just advocating for parents. You know letting them know, hey, you actually have a voice in this issue and we want to hear from you," she said.
Five Shelby County School Board seats are up for election this year.
While other potential challengers filed for districts four and seven, county records showed they did not acquire the necessary number of signatures.
See additional email responses from Fields below:
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a single mother with three boys living in the Raliegh/Frayser area. My oldest is a graduate of Trezevant High, my middle is a graduate of Frayser High and my youngest graduated from MLK Prep.
I am currently the Founding Office Manager and Family Coordinator at Libertas School of Memphis. I have served the youth of Frayser for the last 12 years through my job at Libertas, my volunteer work at the MCS and my position as a Youth Leader for the Pursuit of God Church.
What do you aspire to accomplish on the school board?
I aspire to work with my community, other school board members, community leaders and school districts to bring about change that is best for our children. The status quo of our school system right now is unacceptable. All of our kids deserve quality education, and right now, a lot of them don’t have that opportunity.
How might you expand the work you've done (regarding community engagement) in the ASD to SCS?
I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the community-wide family here at Libertas. As the Family Coordinator, I have seen and worked on programs and initiatives that have flourished right here in Frayser. If elected, I plan to take what I have learned, continue to learn from the families in my community about their needs and concerns, and to work alongside community leaders and school administrators to implement initiatives throughout this district that truly serve our children.