School board interest is refreshing

Sep 22, 2013

It was encouraging to see the number of good candidates who offered to serve on the Haywood County Board of Education.

As is customarhy, when a board member resigns in mid-term, the remaining members seek applicants and name a replacement to fill the rest of the term.

There have been times in the past when only one person stepped forward for the post, and there have been other times when no one even filed to for the office before the election deadline.

In this case, four individuals initially offered to fill the unexpired term of Larry Harbin, a Beaverdam district board member who stepped down because he couldn’t devote the time needed to properly do the job.

One candidate, Robin Black, was a former board member who immediately withdrew upon seeing the number of qualified candidates willing to serve. Her initial interest, she said, was making sure there would be someone willing to step in.

That left veteran school board member Walt Leatherwood, who opted not to run for re-election last time and said he missed the work; Heidi Warren, who worked as a DARE officer in the school system before taking another post in the Sheriff’s office and Jennifer Best, a Farm Bureau insurange agent. Both Warren and Best have children in the school system.

After interviewing all three candidates, the board was so impressed with their credentials and interviews they postponed their decision to think it over.

Warren ultimately withdrew from consideration as she, too, said there appeared to be qualified candidates willing to serve. In the end, the board appointed Leatherwood, who they said could hit the ground running.

We hope those not chosen, or who withdrew from the appointment process, don’t lose interest in serving on the board. Voters, too, deserve a choice when election time rolls around, and all those interviewed sounded as if they would make great board members.

It is also imperative a new generation of leaders step forward — ones with fresh ideas and innovative approaches to the challenges facing public education.

We will look forward to an vigorous campaign season next year when a portion of the school board members will once again be on the campaign trail, speaking of education and their approaches to job of leading the public education effort in our county.

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