Incumbent Janice Davidson faces a challenge from a former Edgecombe County Public Schools maintenance worker in the race for the District 6 seat on the Board of Education.
The seat is up for grabs in the May 8 primary elections.
Running for her fourth term on the board, Davidson will square off against Albert Proctor in his first run for public office.
Davidson said if re-elected she will draw on her past experiences and involvement in the school system to represent her district.
“I am passionate about Edgecombe County Public Schools,” Davidson said. “Over the years, I have served as a grade parent, HOSTS volunteer, school improvement team member, PTO president and school board member. My two children attended Princeville Montessori, Pattillo Elementary, Martin Middle and Tarboro High School, and I care deeply about the teachers, the families and especially the students in District 6.”
Proctor said the high turnover rate among past superintendents motivated him to get involved by filing to run for a seat on the board.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a superintendent that has stayed for more than a couple years,” Proctor said. “We need to have someone who is committed. When they hired Dr. Talley – a 59-year-old man – they should have realized he wasn’t going to stay very long.”
The board is saying one thing and doing another in superintendent searches, he said.
“Regarding the budget and tightening the belt, I think there are some other things the board could have done this year other than losing employees,” Proctor said. “The school district’s strengths are its students, but its weakness is the fact we can’t keep a superintendent here.”
The board also needs to demonstrate more transparency, he said.
“I’m really excited, and everybody I’ve spoken with has said I have a good chance at winning,” Proctor said. “One board member cannot make a change on his or her own. The board needs to work together.”
Davidson touted the school district’s teachers, administrators and staff members who “truly care about our children,” she said.
“I believe Edgecombe County Public Schools’ most valuable resource is its employees,” Davidson said. “We must continue to have high expectations of all students and to prepare our students for success in the world that awaits them.”
The focus in another difficult budget year must be to protect the classroom, she said.
“All teachers, including those who teach band, art, chorus and physical education must be a top priority. We should also attempt to retain as many teacher assistants as possible,” Davidson said. “I look forward to working with our new superintendent, who will provide knowledge, experience and leadership to our system.”
Focusing on the classroom is extremely important because that is where the students learn, she said.
“I believe teachers should receive the support, guidance, tools and professional development necessary .... Teaching is not an easy job. I want the teachers and staff to know they are valued. I will support policies that improve or sustain the work environment for teachers,” Davidson said. “Parent and community involvement is crucial to a successful public school system, as these adults are the role models for the children who observe them. Public education must be a community priority as our students are the future work force which businesses will recruit for the economic benefit of all.”