Retired educator and community volunteer Jean Hiser has announced her candidacy for the Oak Ridge Board of Education in the November 4 municipal election, a press release said.
Hiser moved to Oak Ridge five years ago from Cumberland County, where she taught third grade at Crab Orchard Elementary School for 11 years.
Prior to moving to Tennessee, she had served as a substitute special education teacher in the Wheaton school system in Wheaton, Illinois.
A native of Elderon, a small farming community in Wisconsin, Hiser dreamed of going to college in order to make a better life for herself. She attended college for 3.5 years but was forced to leave school due to lack of funds.
After getting married and raising a son, Hiser returned to college and obtained a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at the age of 45 from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. She enrolled in college on the same day her son enrolled in community college.
She enjoyed several years as a special education teaching assistant, K-12 substitute teacher, and kindergarten teacher in a daycare center. Hiser has always been passionate about public education and the opportunity to influence young minds, the press release said.
“I feel that the best gift we can give any child is a quality education,” Hiser said in the release. “One of the reasons I moved to Oak Ridge was its rich history of being a community that invests in the future through investing in our children.”
In addition to her work as an educator, Hiser has consistently given back to her community through her service in many civic organizations, the press release said. In Illinois, she was active in the local PTA, the American Association of University Women chapter, and the League of Women Voters. She also ran for school board in Illinois more than 30 years ago.
While living in Cumberland County, she served as the president of the American Association of University Women and of the Cumberland County Education Association. She has been president of three different square dance clubs and currently serves on the board of the Tennessee Square Dance Association. She is also president of the Arissa Garden Club, the press release said.
Hiser said she thinks her life experiences will bring a unique perspective to the Oak Ridge Board of Education.
“My involvement in education as a student, teacher, parent, community volunteer, and taxpayer allows me to approach the issues facing our schools from all sides and illustrates my ability to work with different groups to achieve positive results for Oak Ridge schools,” Hiser said.