Candidate Spotlight: Laura Stendel
School Board, Franklin Special School District
Why did you decide to run for office?
It’s simple: I’m an actively involved parent, a PTO member, and someone who wants to walk this path with my daughter as she navigates her journey through the FSSD schools and eventually into WCSD for high school. I want to be a change-maker and a voice for other families. I am very proud of the board who currently serves and I continue to share how lucky we are to be in such a diverse district. But, I also see a need for some new blood within the membership… Someone with a child currently in the public school system who can bring a fresh perspective and not just be an ally for my own child’s success but for her teachers and all the families calling FSSD home.
Share your platform. What will you do when you are elected to serve Williamson County?
I would like to propose term limits for school board members and requirements such as having a child currently in the public educational system. I would like to see our teachers get paid what they deserve and not based on test scores. I would like to see more immersive classes being taught as extras along with music and art. I believe Spanish, for example, should be taught in every grade. Also, we need to create more lines of communication directly with the families of FSSD. Most families I speak to don’t even know who serves on our current board or when the meetings are held. This has to change. I personally want to have a better understanding of the budget, plans for school improvements, and how our funding has been impacted since so many families are being priced out of the county and making the tough decision to move.
How else do you serve our community?
- Room Parent
- PTO member
- Art Scene volunteer for 3 years
- Franklin Ambassador since 2017
- Heritage Foundation Member since 2017, volunteering for the HF annual Ball, HF Late Party, and HF sponsored festivals 3xs a year
- Next Gen Board member for the Heritage Foundation -3 years
- My community awarded me a WC Sizzle Award in my industry (health/wellness & hospitality)
If you could have dinner with one current Tennessee elected official, who would it be, and why?
Great question! I dare to say Sen. Marsha Blackburn, because debating that woman would be a dream come true. (I would be civil, of course, and at least wait to do that until after the main course.)
What are you currently reading?
“Keep Sharp” by Sanjay Gupta, MD
What inspires you to serve?
The pull to public service has always been a part of me. When I was a child, I used to give my own things away even though I had nothing substantial to share. The act of giving just fills my cup.
Likewise, I don’t want to be a family who moves to Franklin and only takes from all the great things this community has to offer. I want to give back to and learn from it. We want people to feel different about transplants like us.
What’s your favorite restaurant or local event in Williamson County?
My favorites include: Bluefin Sushi, Merridees, Mojos, and my favorite event is Art Scene
Anything else you want to share?
I’m grateful for this community and I try to show that to someone or in some way, everyday. If there is something I can do to serve you and your family, please don’t hesitate to let me know. It really does take a village and you don’t have to feel alone or unseen.