John Ray Clemmons, Nashville mayoral candidate

NASHVILLE, TN — State Representative John Ray Clemmons, candidate for mayor of Nashville, hosted an education listening session at Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church, focusing on the importance of fully-funding Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. 

Titled, “Worth Every Penny: Investing in Teachers and Students,” this event featured a panel discussion moderated by Rep. Clemmons and featuring teachers and parents from across Davidson County. 

“This was an informative conversation about the many challenges facing our MNPS teachers and the things we must do to achieve my vision of having the fastest improving school system in the country,” said Clemmons. “I thank the panelists for sharing their time and expertise, as well as everyone who attended for providing their valuable feedback.” 

The panelists were Mary Catherine Bradshaw, Service Learning Curriculum Coordinator at Ensworth; Charles Flowers, 5th Grade Teacher at MNPS and Candidate for Metro Council District 5; Chris Gill, Paraprofessional in MNPS; Dr. DeAundra Jenkins-Holder, MNPS Teacher, Former Principal, and Founder & Director at Jazzy Teacher Educational and Cultural Center; Amanda Kail, Founder of Nashville Red4Ed; and Michael Epps Utley, Co-Creator of Fund MNPS

Despite a diversity of experiences, all of the panelists agreed that to improve our public schools, Metro must better support its teachers and ensure equitable funding practices. 

“Teachers need more time to teach,” said Jenkins. “We have so many meetings that we often actually have less time to do the job we love.”

“We must be responsive to the unique needs of each school and student,” said Flowers. “We need to look at how we fund our schools and make sure it’s truly equitable.” 

Clemmons wrapped up the event by sharing how he would work to move MNPS forward, saying, “MNPS teachers and staff deserve to be heard and fully supported. We must increase our per-pupil spending in Nashville because providing all of our children with an opportunity to succeed in their classrooms is the most important investment we can make as a city.”

The Clemmons for Mayor campaign will be hosting three more policy-specific listening sessions over the next month with a focus on North Nashville and Bordeaux, Affordable Housing and Small Businesses. For more information on these events and to RSVP, visit 

John Ray Clemmons is a State Representative challenging Mayor Briley in the August 1st election.