Chat Room - Whitney Cox

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By Lance Coleman

Whitney Cox, 31, is the granddaughter of the late Stanley B. "Skeeter" Shields, longtime mayor of Maryville. The Greenback Elementary School fifth and sixth grade teacher is the wife of Lynn Cox, and they have three children -- Madison 5, Carter and Caroline 4.

In this election year, Cox was asked which of her grandfather’s traits she hoped local politicians would emulate.
Cox says she thinks sincerity and honesty are two of the most important traits to follow.

"Those are two of the biggest qualities my granddad had. People loved him because of that. It’s the love for Maryville and being a part of your community and helping the community."

Cox says she has some favorite memories of her grandfather as mayor.

"I always rode with him in the Christmas parade. I thought that was special every year. And, I remember when they broke ground for Foothills Mall, we watched that," she says.

Cox says the legacy her grandfather left is seen in the greenways and parks people enjoy and in commercial and industrial development like Denso. Cox says it was growth, "but growth at a good rate."

Here is Whitney Cox:

What was your most embarrassing moment?
Cox says she has two most embarrassing moments.

"In high school I was at the Blount County Swimming Championship at William Blount High School. I was late, and the team was already stretching. I quickly took off my sweatpants and began to stretch. As I reached back to ‘adjust’ my bathing suit, I realized that I had not changed into my suit, and was actually stretching in my underwear! Everyone was cracking up, so I quickly ran to the locker room and changed.

"During my junior year of high school, we were doing Homecoming activities in the gym. We had to circle around a bat 10 times and then run to a chair at the other end of the gym and sit on a balloon in order to pop it. Needless to say, spinning around the bat made me very dizzy, and as I took off running, I tripped and fell in front of the entire student body!"

Why did you pursue the career you chose?
"As a child I always wanted to be a teacher. One very important reason why was that I grew up around two wonderful role models. My grandmother, Mary Francis Shields, taught third grade, and my mother, Martha Shields, taught kindergarten.

Both women made great impacts on students’ lives, and I was impressed by this. There have been countless times that people have told me, ‘Your grandmother/mother was my favorite teacher.’ "

What was your first paying job?
Cox was a lifeguard at Green Meadow Country Club.

What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
Cox says others often describe her as "busy" because she is a mother of three, a teacher and involved with church, the Junior Service League and Toys for Tots.

What’s the best thing about Blount County?
Cox says the best things about Blount County are the people, the community and living so close to the mountains.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Cox says she would want to change her patience level.

What is your passion?
"My passions are my family and being involved in things that help others."

To what do you attribute your success?
"My parents, Steve and Martha Shields, and my grandparents, Skeeter and Mary Francis Shields. They gave me wonderful values, taught me how to work hard, and be respectful."

With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
"All four of my grandparents. I was lucky enough to have all but one grandparent around for most of my life. I was not able to know my mother’s father very well at all, as he died when I was 2. My father’s father was the only grandparent to know any of my children, so I would love to be able to have lunch with all four of them and let them meet their great-grandchildren."

What do you hate?
Cox says she hates rude people.

What’s your favorite quote?
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

What is your favorite toy?
"My favorite toy as a child was the Barbie Dream House. My favorite toy now is my kids’ motorized golf cart. They look so cute driving it."

Rebels, Tornadoes, Mountaineers or Governors?
"Rebels! Check out who the stadium is named after," she says of the Maryville High School stadium named after Stanley "Skeeter" Shields.

What is your all-time favorite movie?
"Gone with the Wind."

What is the best book you’ve ever read?
"As far as classic books, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’’ The best children’s books I have read are the Harry Potter books."

If you won a big lottery jackpot, what is the charitable donation you would make? How would you splurge?
"I would definitely give money to Junior Service League’s Toys for Tots. To splurge, I would remodel our house, take a great vacation, and give some of the money to my family and friends."

If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
"I would have to go back to my college years. I met my husband and my dearest friend during those four and a half years. The time I spent at MTSU were the most carefree and fun-filled years of my life."

If you couldn’t live in Blount County, where would you like to live?
"Murfreesboro. My husband and I met in college at MTSU, and we have always said that if Maryville didn’t exist, we would live in the Boro."

Coke or Pepsi?
"Coke. My best friend works for Coke."

What is your favorite sport and favorite sport’s team?
Cox says her favorite sport is college football and competitive swimming and her favorite team is the UT Volunteers.

If you were Queen for a Day, what edict would you immediately pass?
"If I were Queen for a day I would immediately grant all newborn children a free college education."

What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
"If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all. The other thing she always said to me when I was little was, ‘Pretty is as pretty does.’"

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