Aaron Wells, a lifelong Oak Ridger and president of the Boys and Girls Club of Oak Ridge, is running for Oak Ridge Board of Education in the November 4 municipal election, a press release said.
“Over the last two decades, I have spent countless hours coaching, mentoring, and fundraising for the youth in our town,” Wells said in the release. “After much prayer and discussion, my wife Melissa and I made the decision that I would run for school board.”
If elected, Wells said he will focus on achieving four priorities.
“First and foremost, I commit to truly listen to our teachers and integrate their feedback into all of my decisions,” Wells said. “Teachers are the lifeblood of our schools, and they know better than anyone how to make our students successful. We can no longer afford to ignore their invaluable feedback and concerns. The Board of Education must fight to restore to them the freedom they need to do what they do best—inspire and educate our children.”
Second, Wells said, he will actively seek input from parents and students, as he does in other activities.
“If you email or call me, I will respond,” he said. “If you take the time and courage to address me during a meeting, I will personally acknowledge your concerns on the spot and will follow up if necessary. You deserve to be heard and you deserve a response. You will get one from me.”
Wells said he will also work to afford every student the best opportunity to find the career path that is right for them.
“We do a great job of preparing our students for college, but college is not the right option for all students,” he said. “I will work to expand vocational class options and alternative programs such as JROTC into our high school course offerings.”
Finally, Wells said, he will strive to ensure that every dollar is spent as wisely as possible.
“Oak Ridgers’ commitment to education is undeniable when considering that they so generously outspend nearly every other school system in the state at over $12,000 per student,” he said. “But we can only ask so much of them. If we are to attract new residents and businesses, it is imperative that we control spending by prioritizing needs over wants. Just as most of us can’t afford to rush out and buy the new iPhone 6, government shouldn’t pursue the latest and greatest (and most expensive) technological gadgets when we can’t afford the basics like Reading Recovery, transportation, or textbooks.”
Wells said he and Melissa and were both fortunate enough to have been students in the Oak Ridge school system.
“We are also deeply invested in that the decisions I will make while serving on the board will directly affect our daughter Maggie,” he said. “Because she will start kindergarten toward the end of this four-year term, it is important that I plant the seeds of change now to ensure that she reaps the same benefits as Melissa and I did.”
Along with the Boys and Girls Club, Wells also serves as the chairman of the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau and is on the Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals, and the Sunset Rotary Club’s Board of Directors. He is the sales director for the Staybridge Suites and Holiday Inn Express of Oak Ridge and an insurance broker with Madison Insurance Group.