Here are facts about students on school boards  in Tennessee.

District School Boards

  • Students in Tennessee can join district and state school boards. Selection methods vary according to district.
  • Students cannot vote on district school boards but can vote on the state school board.

State Board of Education

  • There is one student advisor to the Tennessee State Board of Education.
  • This student has full voting rights.
  • The student advisor is selected by the Governor of Tennessee.
  • Student advisors may be in the 11th or 12th grade.
  • They serve one year terms.
  • This role has been in place since 1984.
  • The Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) 49-1-301 requires the Governor of Tennessee to appoint one public high school student to the State Board of Education.
  • Law: The law states that “The high school student shall be of superlative standing and shall serve for a one-year term in an ex officio capacity.  The student member shall be appointed each year from nominees chosen by the local board of education in each school system at each board’s discretion, with no more than one student from each school system being nominated, and with the students having reached their junior or senior year in high school.”
  • Student Board members are granted full voting rights and are eligible for appropriate state reimbursement.
  • Each year, the Governor of Tennessee requests that each local school board nominate a student to serve on the State Board of Education.
  • There is not a formal application process.
  • However, local school boards are asked to submit a letter of recommendation and a resume for their nominee.
  • After reviewing each nominee, the Governor then appoints the student Board Member.
  • Generally, the Governor attempts to alternate the region from which the student is selected between East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and West Tennessee.
  • Past student board members have typically had a 4.0 GPA and above.

Tennessee School Board Association

  • They are not formal members of the state school board association, and do not receive specific training to support their involvement.
  • Student representatives are invited to all of the state school board association’s seminars and workshops.

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Published by Adam Fletcher

Adam is the founding director of SoundOut. An author, speaker and consultant, he has worked with K-12 schools, districts, nonprofits and others for more than 15 years. Learn more about him at

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