Jenny Brock, who is serving her second term as a member of the Johnson City Board of Education, has decided to run for one of two seats up for grabs on the City Commission when the April 23 municipal election rolls around.
Brock, 63, will try to win a place on the five-member board for the first time after a distinguished academic, professional and public career. Vice Mayor Phil Carriger is not seeking another term, but former Mayor Jane Myron has chosen to run again.
“I love Johnson City, and I want to see it progress,” Brock said Thursday, one day after picking up a petition to run. “This is a very important election, because there will be at least one new commissioner, and I want to see someone in that seat who is progressive in thinking, who is optimistic and not afraid to deal with the tough issues. We don’t want to go backward.”
Brock, who said she will officially announce her intentions to the Board of Education soon to allow that body to appoint someone to serve out her remaining two years, has four points on which she plans to focus: maintaining as low a tax rate as possible while keeping city services at a high level; building a strong, viable infrastructure and keeping utilities affordable; supporting all levels of education and leveraging programs at East Tennessee State University to benefit the economy; and improving quality of life.
“I truly believe the power of this community is its people,” she said.
Brock is married to husband Michael. They have a daughter, two grandchildren and another on the way. She graduated from Science Hill High School in 1967, and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree at the University of Tennessee in physical education and a master’s degree from ETSU in exercise physiology.
She taught physical education in ETSU’s exercise science division for nine years and was pursuing her doctorate in that field when Texas Instruments offered her a job in Dallas in 1989 to start that company’s first wellness program. Four years later, she was recruited by Toronto-based Nortel Networks to start that company’s wellness program.
“We got that program going and one thing led to another until they asked me to take more responsibility,” she said. “I ended up in Singapore helping establish an environmental health and safety program. I went to India, Indonesia, Japan and a lot of other places. I learned a lot about trust.”
In 1996, she moved back to Dallas and moved into the Nortel’s human resources division until retiring in 2001.
“We had invested in some real estate and became landlords,” she said. “We started getting really involved in the community, and it’s a decision I’ve never regretted.”
Brock serves on the Johnson City Power Board and has been chairperson the past two years. She also is on the Golf Advisory Board and started a tradition: the Johnson City Turkey Trot. She and Myron also started Up & At ‘Em, a program that addresses health issues for area youth. She also was an instructor and is now a coach for the worldwide instructional program The First Tee.
She also said she is very proud of Johnson City Schools’ success.
“When you look at what a school board can actually make happen ...” she began. “When I started, the economy was good and we were able to support (Superintendent of Schools) Richard Bales’ programs, including the academic coaching that has helped teachers. As far as academic standards, we just found out two weeks ago we’re number two statewide. I’m also proud of the new construction at Science Hill, Fairmont (elementary) and now Indian Trail (intermediate).”
Candidates have until noon Jan. 17 to hand in qualifying petitions.
So far, six people have picked up petitions including Brock, and one other plans to do so. Myron has been a commissioner since 2005 and served as mayor from 2009 to 2011; T.K. Owens ran unsuccessfully this year for the U.S. Senate; Frank Bolus is a former Washington County Commissioner; William “Bud” Hill ran unsuccessfully for a City Commission seat in 2010; and Bart Mikitowicz also plans to run.
Former city commissioner Vance Cheek Jr. said late Thursday that he has not yet picked up his paperwork but intends to do so. Cheek served one term from 1997-2001 and was both mayor and vice mayor during that time.