In a bid for four seats on the Richmond County Board of Education, five candidates competed in the May 8 Primary Election. Bruce Stanback was the only incumbent not reelected.
Three of the seats were regular four-year terms, and one seat was a two-year term left open by the death of board member Ed Ormsby.
Candidates filing for election had to declare whether they were running for a four-year term or the two-year term.
Cathy Wilson and Sandy Lampley ran for the two-year term, while the only non-incumbent to vie for a four-year seat was Jerry Ethridge.
Incumbents running for re-election for four-year terms were: Tom McInnis; Wiley Mabe; and Stanback.
The unofficial results, as of Tuesday night, showed that McInnis was reelected with 5,717 votes (27.4 percent); Wiley Mabe was reelected with 5,658 votes (27.1 percent) and Jerry Ethridge was elected to his first term with 5,306 votes (25.4 percent). Stanback was not reelected, and secured 4,177 votes (20 percent).
“I’m looking forward to working with the board,” said newcomer, and retired educator, Ethridge. “Some of my goals include improving teacher moral, and helping students perform. There are a lot of students in the mainstream environment who could benefit from being in a situation in which they receive more discipline and more attention. This could include considering alternative environments for them to learn, which would take some of the burden off of teachers and other students.”
Cathy Wilson won the bid for the two-year term with 5,827 votes (67 percent). Lampley secured 2,852 votes (32.8 percent).
“I’m very thankful and appreciative of the confidence that the voters have shown,” said Wilson. “I want to be a voice for the children and the educators.”
“All of us campaigned, and the voters decided,” said Mabe. “I look forward to serving my second term with new folks joining on July 1. I ran in the past and was unsuccessful, so to be elected again is humbling. I’d like to continue the work we’ve done, and I think we’re well positioned to go forward and continue improving.”
McInnis, who has served one and a half terms — one for which he was elected, and one for which he was appointed when State Rep. Ken Goodman was elected to the State House — is enthusiastic about serving on the board for another four years.
“I’d like to see an increase in career pathways and vocational opportunities through the implementation of new programs in Richmond County Schools,” said McInnis. “We need to create the workforce for jobs that are here. Creating sustainable infrastructure for the schools is also important.”
In the long term, McInnis said he aims to see dropout rates continue to decrease, and see math and reading proficiency increase.
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.