Three vie for school board post
Three candidates vying for the vacant seat on the Haywood County Board of Education had such outstanding interviews that the school board tabled its decision on its new board member for another week.
Former board member Walt Leatherwood, Jennifer Best and Heidi Warren interviewed for the vacant seat representing the Beaverdam District Tuesday night, a position vacant following the resignation of board member Larry Harbin.
The motion to table the decision carried in a 6-1 vote, with board member Jim Harley Francis opposing.
School Board Chairman Chuck Francis announced during a Sept. 10 board meeting that a new member would be sworn in during the meeting. However, following the interviews, board member Steven Kirkpatrick made a motion to table the decision for another week.
“There’s usually one who’s head and shoulders above the rest, but we’ve got three good candidates, and I don’t want to make a split decision,” Kirkpatrick said. “This is really important to discuss.”
The school board asked each candidate to give a little background information about themselves before answering the same five questions: Why do you want to serve? What experiences have you had that relate to serving on the board? Can you commit 10 to 20 hours a month to the board? What is the prime issue you want to address as a board member? Will you re-run for election in 2014?
Best, an N.C. Farm Bureau representative, said she thought her business experience and community involvement made her an ideal board member candidate.
“I do feel like I have a lot to contribute and do have a child in the public school system,” Best said during her interview. “I think education is just vital — I've seen it as a parent. I understand the importance of education on so many levels and I know education is very important to the community.”
Warren, who currently serves as D.A.R.E officer in schools and is the public information officer for the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office, said she had a lot to offer the board, including her experience in public speaking and her writing skills.
“I believe in public service, being answerable to the public and I believe in leading by example,” Warren said during the interview. “I believe in the school system, I believe in bettering the children and the children's future, and I'd like to be part of that.”
gave the second interview of the evening.
Warren is a mother of two with stepchildren and step-grandchildren.
"I have writing skills speech skills but more than than that, I have a heart for the job," Warren added. "I think you have to. A person either has to have something wrong with them, or a very deep desire to do it."
Leatherwood, who previously served on the school board for 16 years, said he wanted to rejoin the board after leaving the position in 2012.
“I still coach softball at Pisgah High School, and I’ve been involved with Champion Credit Union on their board and the little league for 20 years,” Leatherwood said in the interview. “In the last election, I made a mistake and didn't run again. I thought I was too tied up, but I missed it. I see a lot of things I miss about it — the kids for one.”
Leatherwood said his experience working with the school board on a multitude of projects made him want to return to the board.
“I’ll just let what I’ve done over the years speak for itself,” he said.
The board will make its decision at 7 p.m. Monday at a special called meeting, during which time the new board member will be sworn in. The meeting will take place at the Education Center in Clyde.