​Council Candidates Priestley and Schutz: Vote now!

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

The Sewanee Community Council is holding a special election to fill a District 4 vacant seat. Candidates Mary Priestley and Paul Schutz are running for a term ending December 2022. Voting continues through Friday, Oct. 25, during business hours at the Office of Leases and Community Relations (the Blue House). Only District 4 residents can vote. To determine your district, check with the Lease Office or visit http://www.sewanee.edu/offices/leases/community-co....

Read on to meet the candidates.

Mary Priestley graduated from the University of the South, married and raised three children in Sewanee. She’s taught at the high school, junior high, and elementary school levels. At the college, Priestley taught in the Sewanee Summer Scholars Program and directed the Bridge Program in Math and Science, transition programs for minority students. She’s served as board president of the Children’s Center, Sewanee Elementary School Parent Teachers Organization, volunteer curator of the Sewanee Herbarium, and for 20 plus years volunteered on behalf of South Cumberland State Park. Earning an M.F.A. in creative writing from the Sewanee School of Letters, Priestley went on to author books for both children and adults, often drawing on Sewanee’s mountain setting. Her all-women band performs frequently at local venues with Priestley on the accordion.

“I feel incredibly lucky to have spent my whole adult life in Sewanee, and I want to do what I can for its quality of life,” Priestley said. “I recognize both Sewanee’s uniqueness and its place in the larger mountain community. More and more, I have come to embrace the fact that the idea of ‘us and them’ is the wrong way to consider our fellow human beings. We’re all in this together, even when we disagree.”

Paul Schutz works as the director of marketing and communications at the Beecken Center of the School of Theology. Before that he owned and managed a design, marketing, and photography studio in both Portland, Oregon, and New York City. Schutz has also worked as a producer and digital technician on commercial photography shoots in Portland and New York. A graduate of New York University, Schutz is currently doing coursework at the School of Theology.

“I hope my insight, knowledge, and communication skills will be an asset to the community,” Schutz said. “I look forward to listening closely to and working with the residents of District 4.”

“I’ve lived in Sewanee since 2014 and come to love this place dearly. My wife received a Master of Divinity degree at the School of Theology, and when she finished her coursework in 2017, we realized there was nowhere else we could imagine living. This community has given my family a great deal, and it is time for me to give back.”