Andrew Howe, a musician and software engineer, is running for Oak Ridge Board of Education in the November 4 election.
Howe said some people might recognize him from his performances singing and playing with bands around town, including at community festivals, or on the Oak Ridge Playhouse stage.
“That’s just one side of me though,” Howe said. “By day, I’m normally a software engineer, degree from MIT, but presently I’m taking a hiatus from that career while I pursue other options. I’m married to my best friend, Kat, and our son Maguire is a junior in the high school.”
In a press release, Howe said the family has taken a fairly run-down looking old “A” house on the end of a vine infested cul-de-sac and turned it into their own little country paradise, The 100 Acre Woods. He called it a small performance and gathering space in the woods that has always been open for anyone to make use of.
Howe said he and Kat started a nonprofit this year, Project Sunflower, to get some gardens in Oak Ridge.
“While we wait for our nonprofit status, we’re hoping to collect personal garden overflow and give the extras to the needy,” Howe said. “So, please bring any spare produce you have to any events I host, and we’ll be sure to get those quickly into the hands of those who need it.”
Howe said he grew up with Oak Ridge as a badge of family pride. His grandfather came here in October of 1942 and helped build the town and the project. His mother was born here in March of 1943, the first newborn of the Oak Ridge Reservation, the press release said.
“So, although I’ve only lived here for 11 years, Oak Ridge has always been part of me,” Howe said.
He said his mother was an English teacher in the public schools until her retirement just a few years ago, so he grew up hearing a teacher’s perspective.
“As the ‘active ingredient’ in the learning recipe, I honestly feel teachers are our greatest assets, our most important resource,” Howe said. “Everything we do to make our teachers happy, well informed, educated, and effective will come back to us ten-fold.”
Howe is presently the secretary of the Traffic Safety Advisory Board, and he said he is proud of the work he’s done on that board.
“I enjoy writing up the minutes in a way I hope is easily understood by the general public, and I enjoy being able to answer questions for the public,” Howe said. “After nearly every meeting, I have a short list of people to call to give answers to the questions they posed to me before the meeting. I may have to step down from that position if elected to the BOE, but I’m comfortable with that—the TSAB is in good hands.”
Howe said he likes being involved and helping others, whether it’s “trying to find a warm haven for the people in the Broadway Apartments during the winter when their heating system failed, or getting the TDEC study on the swimming quarry on the west end of town so we all know it’s truly safe.
“I’m running for the Board of Education because I care about this town and our schools, and I see applying my skills as something I should do, as a resident and a father of a student. Ethics and principles are the basis of my campaign. I fully believe in accountability, responsibility, and transparency, and vow to do all I can to alleviate any doubts, questions, and concerns anyone has about the school system in whatever ways I can.”
The issues he is currently exploring, Howe said, are Common Core, the 1-to-1 initiative, the standardized test results, and the busing situation. He said he is actively seeking input from teachers, parents, school employees, and citizens at large.
“I already see ways we can save money while improving the learning environment,” Howe said.
He said he will be hosting “meet and speaks” at his home at 115 East Maiden Lane each Wednesday evening until the election. Those events start at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.
“I’d like everyone to come and tell me his or her story,” Howe said. “I invite all the other candidates and sitting members of the BOE as well, so everyone can take advantage of the information gathered.
“This is my city and my school system, and I promise to do all I can to make it the best it can be.”
For more information, contact Howe at (865) 640-5704 or visit his campaign page on Facebook.