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(Arlington, TN) Shelby County School Board member Mike Wissman says the school merger has been chaos and hard on everyone, but it’s not keeping him or principal Portia Tate from taking top honors from the Tennessee PTA, thanks to their hands on approach with parents.

Wissman is a Memphis fire fighter, mayor of Arlington and Shelby county school board member.

Now he can also claim the title of Tennessee school board member of the year an honor he also received three years ago.

“As chaotic as everything has been with the merge we still have to operate the schools daily. We still have parents out there who work their tails off for schools,” said Wissman.

Rivercrest Middle School Principal Portia Tate won principal of the year from the same group.

The states PTA took nominations from local PTAs around the state and sent them off to a panel in Michigan to select the winners.

“I think it shows the commitment to our parents schools and communities. We’ve lays said the parents are what makes Shelby county so unique and they put so much time into fundraising,” said Wissman.

There was concern among some that money raised by suburban PTAs would be put into a big pot for all infield schools to use and wouldn’t be available to them if they created their own districts.

Wissman says that’s no longer an issue, “He money should stay with the schools that raise the money. That’s what the policy states and that was a lot of the concern over the last few weeks when the policies were looking at being changed i think there was some wording to tweak that.”

Wissman says because of the time-consuming merger, board members have had to cut out meeting with parents and he thinks that will hurt the board in the long run.