Former Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) School Board member Fran Bush celebrated her 49th birthday Friday by announcing her intent to run for Nashville Mayor in the upcoming election. In her video announcement, Bush touted her record as a school member as the impetus for her mayoral run.
“While serving my time as a school board member for Metro Nashville Public Schools for four years, I was able to work on behalf of 80,000-plus students, their families, teachers, support staff, and bus drivers,” she said. “My work also included being the only board member who championed getting our students back in the classroom during an unprecedented time during COVID-19.”
MNPS remained virtual throughout the recent COVID pandemic, even after many of Tennessee’s school districts returned to in-person instruction and parents called for a return to classrooms. Bush was the lone voice on the board pushing for schools to re-open.
“We as a district have failed these kids, I’m very embarrassed, this is not the MNPS that I know,” she told The Tennessean in 2020.
Bush is a Nashville native, a graduate of Tennessee State University, and the mother of five boys, all of who have attended MNPS schools. If elected, she would focus on neighborhoods, affordable housing, homelessness, crime prevention and safety, education, and infrastructure.
A political novice when she first ran for the District 6 school board seat in 2018, she successfully unseated incumbent Tyese Hunter, despite Hunter having the support of then-MNPS Superintendent Shawn Joseph. Once elected, she joined forces with fellow school board members Amy Frogge and Jill Speering in questioning leadership decisions of Joseph. Those efforts eventually led to his contract not being extended and the board buying out the remainder of his existing contract.
During the summer of 2022, Bush ran for election as an independent against former school board chair Cheryl Mayes, who ran as a Democrat. Bush told The Tennessee Star Report that she ran as an independent candidate because she is an “independent thinker.”
“Have I not proven that? My tenure on this board has been very interesting. To be the only board member that has made some type of difference for her kids. And I am just ready to get some like-minded people on this board,” she said.
Mayes won the race against Bush, and reclaimed her former seat. Despite the loss, Bush remained undeterred in her pursuit of higher office.
“Fran Bush is what Nashville needs, a Mayor who will be intentional, getting the work done for Nashville,” she told The Tennessee Star via email.
In announcing her intent to pursue the position of Nashville’s mayor, Bush becomes the sixth candidate to announce formally. She joins current Metro Council Members Sharon Hurt and Freddie O’Connell, along with economic development veteran Matt Wiltshire and former AllianceBernstein COO Jim Gingrich in the race. Tennessee State Sen. Jeff Yarbro announced on Friday that he, too, would be joining the race.
The qualifying deadline for the August 3 election is May 18th.
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TC Weber is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. He also writes the blog Dad Gone Wild. Follow TC on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]. He’s the proud parent of two public school children and the spouse of a public school teacher.
Photo “Fran Bush” by Fran Bush School Board District 6. Background Photo “Davidson County Courthouse” by Luckiewiki. CC BY-SA 4.0.