Board appoints Leatherwood to vacant seat
The Haywood County Board of Education decided in a 6-1 vote Tuesday to reappoint former board member Walt Leatherwood to the vacant board seat to represent the Beaver Dam District.
Board member Bob Morris opposed the motion.
Leatherwood was one of three candidates vying for the position. Last week, the board interviewed Leatherwood, Heidi Warren, and Jennifer Best for the position, which opened following the resignation of board member Larry Harbin.
During the called meeting, Chuck Francis, chairman of the school board, announced that Warren had sent a letter withdrawing her request to serve on the board.
“(Warren) said that we already had qualified candidates who would hit the ground running,” Francis said while referencing the letter.
Morris later said he opposed the vote to appoint Leatherwood because he was in favor of appointing Best to the open seat.
“Mr. Leatherwood is a fine choice,” Morris said. “In my opinion, Mrs. Best was the best choice. But we're lucky to have three people to choose from.”
After being sworn in by June Ray, the Haywood County Clerk of Court, Leatherwood said he was excited to serve on the board again. He previously served 16 years before resigning in December 2012.
“It feels good. I’m happy to be back,” Leatherwood said. “I came back for the kids. I hope I can get them better facilities. It’s a lot of work but I think we can get them done.”
Leatherwood said he was hoping to complete some projects at Pisgah High School and Waynesville Middle School, which would result in the construction of new classrooms and facilities.
“Cost-wise, it might take a while, but we can get it done,” Leatherwood said. “I just want to see the school system as a whole get bigger and better for the kids.”
Francis said he thought Leatherwood’s previous experience would be beneficial to the board and to the schools.
“I think he’ll be a great asset,” Francis said. “His experience will go a long way. His experience on the building and grounds committee will be invaluable with the new Pisgah High School project. His expertise is much appreciated.”