Sargeant named district court judge; leaving school board

Sargeant named district court judge; leaving school board

Jon Sargeant, a Kinston attorney and chairman of the Lenoir County Board of Education, has been appointed the District Court Judge for District 8 by Gov. Roy Cooper. He replaces Chief District Court Judge David B. Brantley, who resigned March 31.

As a result, Sargeant – who was elected to his seat on the school board in 2012 and re-elected in 2016 – will leave the school board before the end of the month, when he is set to take the oath of office for the judgeship.

“It’s really an honor and a privilege to serve as a district court judge,” Sargeant stated in a press release from Lenoir County Public Schools. “The last few years, especially on this board, I’ve really enjoyed being able to serve the public and when this opportunity came up, it was really an opportunity to serve the public full time.”

Sargeant has been an attorney in private practice for more than a quarter-century and has been a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Family Law since 2001. He holds undergraduate and law degrees from UNC.

At its regular meeting Monday night, the Lenoir County School Board named Keith King of La Grange as Sargeant’s replacement as chair.

 Keith King of La Grange leads the Lenoir County School Board meeting Monday night after being named to replace Jon Sargeant. Photo by Patrick Holmes / Lenoir County Public Schools

Keith King of La Grange leads the Lenoir County School Board meeting Monday night after being named to replace Jon Sargeant. Photo by Patrick Holmes / Lenoir County Public Schools

“I’d also like to thank Mr. Sargeant for everything he has done the last several years,” King said. “I would say that Jon is probably one of the main reasons I’m on the board now.”

King is a self-employed property owner and manager and represents District 2, which consists of mostly western Lenoir County. He will serve as the board chair until December (and possibly beyond); that’s when the board annually selects its leadership.

Sargeant was first named board chair in 2013. Since then, he has led a school board that hired Superintendent Brent Williams and has helped lead Lenoir County Public Schools to noted academic success. In 2017, he accepted an award from the North Carolina School Board Association that honored the Lenoir County board with the School Board Leadership Award for its high level of engagement in the district’s improvement efforts.

According to school board attorney Carolyn Waller, filling Sargeant’s unexpired term could be a two-phase process, with board members appointing a temporary replacement from nominations submitted to them, then getting the District 3 seat on the first available ballot, possibly as early as November.

Sargeant’s term would have expired in 2020.

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