NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Metro Nashville Board of Education will soon grow from nine to 11 as two student members will be joining the group of elected officials tasked with guiding the district toward success. Abenezer Haile, a rising junior at Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High, and Angelie Quimbo, a rising senior at Hillwood High, were selected for the non-voting student member positions and will start their terms in September of this year.
“The focus of our work should always be on the students we serve, and giving them a seat at the table when difficult decisions are being made that will impact their lives is going to make for a better and more effective board of directors,” said Gini Pupo-Walker, District 8 member and the head of the selection committee that was tasked with choosing student members from the pool of 31 applicants and 12 finalists.
The student members will participate in their first board meeting on Sept. 14.
Born in the Philippines, Angelie Quimbo has attended Metro Nashville Public Schools since her family moved to Nashville, starting at Charlotte Park Elementary and then H.G. Hill Middle School before enrolling at Hillwood High as a freshman in 2018. She will graduate next spring and plans to go to college and major in political science or psychology, with a goal of becoming a healthcare attorney. Angelie will attend the Governor’s School for International Studies in Memphis this summer.
“I sought this position because I felt like it would allow me to give back to various communities, especially the schools that have shaped many students like me,” Angelie said. “I would want to make a difference for my fellow students by creating a space that is even more enjoyable for them. One of my main goals is amplifying the voices of those who may have gone unnoticed; and with that, I hope to address and bring forth issues that the board may not have been aware of.”
Abenezer Haile, who was born in Ethiopia, has been an MNPS student for 10 years. He attended Carter-Lawrence and Una elementary schools and Rose Park Magnet Math and Science Middle School before MLK, from which he will graduate in 2023. He will serve a two-year term on the board.
“I saw that this position would give me the opportunity to use my skill set to better serve my community and to make sure the voices of students are heard,” Abenezer said. “I want to make a difference by showing my classmates that they have a district that is willing to hear them and understand them. I want to make sure that by the time I leave, the student body has a better relationship with the board and the board has a better understanding of the students.”
Student Board of Education members are not new to the district. The board previously had student members as late as 2008, but those seats have been unfilled since then. Going forward, the board plans to select a rising junior every year to serve for two years.