Candidates for Sargeant's seat meet school board

Candidates for Sargeant's seat meet school board

Five Lenoir County residents who live in District 3 and would like to become a board member had their opportunity to impress the current Lenoir County School Board at Tuesday’s September meeting.

Jon Sargeant left the board in July after being named a district court judge by Gov. Roy Cooper, creating the vacancy. Residents in Sargeant’s district were encouraged to send in a letter of interest and were given five minutes to state their reasons why they wanted to join the school board. The candidates were also given the same three questions to answer by the board’s attorney.

After listening to all the presentations, the board met in closed session for 20 minutes and decided to wait until a special Sept. 17 meeting to announce its choice for the replacement.

 Annette Hawkins. Photo by Linda Whittington / Neuse News

Annette Hawkins. Photo by Linda Whittington / Neuse News

School board chairman Keith King said there were several reasons to put the decision off for two more weeks.

“I think we had members who heard a lot of good candidates and know it’s a tough choice,” King said. “We know the new member will be here for a little over two years and it’s a very important position in our county. I think they want a little bit more time to go over the candidates and possibly do a little vetting on their own.”

 Dorian Edwards. Photo by Linda Whittington / Neuse News

Dorian Edwards. Photo by Linda Whittington / Neuse News

During the open discussion following the closed session, school board member Merwyn Smith said he knew who he was supporting and was ready to vote. However, he agreed with his fellow board members and voted with them to postpone the decision until Sept. 17.

“It was the board’s decision to wait,” said Smith, who wouldn’t reveal who would receive his vote. “I’m the type of person that had the information, I listened to what they said, I took note of every candidate and I was ready to vote.”

 Dean Sauls. Photo by Linda Whittington / Neuse News

Dean Sauls. Photo by Linda Whittington / Neuse News

In order, Annette Hawkins, Dorian Edwards, Dean Sauls, Wandra Williams and Richard Bogan each spoke about their desire to join the board.

Hawkins: “I feel that we can engage our parents, teachers and students to see what they’re thinking about; perhaps in a town hall meeting.”

Edwards: “One thing about me is that I have the heart of a servant. … I realized at an early age that my first passion is people.”

 Wandra Williams. Photo by Linda Whittington / Neuse News

Wandra Williams. Photo by Linda Whittington / Neuse News

Sauls: “I think Lenoir County has a great school system. … I support students first; if you don’t keep them in school, they can’t graduate.”

Williams: “I desire to be part of the efforts that the board has put forth with parent involvement and partnership. I believe in the power of parent involvement.”

Bogan: “­­Being the new person on the board, I can assure you I’d do a lot of listening if you choose me. Listen first, and learn.”

 Richard Bogan. Photo by Linda Whittington / Neuse News

Richard Bogan. Photo by Linda Whittington / Neuse News

Anthony Kennedy was scheduled to make his case to the board but learned a couple of hours before the meeting he would have to give up coaching the North Lenoir High School soccer team if he were selected. He withdrew his name from consideration.

King said he was very pleased with the five candidates.

“We heard a lot of information and a lot of backgrounds in education,” he said. “All five candidates are leaders and either one of them would be good for our school system.”

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UPDATED: Potential school board members to make case to replace Sargeant on Tuesday

UPDATED: Potential school board members to make case to replace Sargeant on Tuesday