School board candidates generally run low-profile campaigns, even though our excellent schools remain a top reason people moving to the area say they choose Chapel Hill and Carrboro over Durham, where the taxes are lower and the houses cost less. The decisions school board members make ensure that our schools serve children of all capability levels so well.
One major change in this year’s election: Seven candidates are running for five seats. Four of the seats are for four-year terms and one seat is a two-year term. (The two-year term is the balance of a full term after Joe Green resigned to accept a job outside the area.) The four candidates with the most votes will fill the four-year terms, and the candidate with the fifth-highest number of votes will fill the two-year term. So you may vote for as many as five people.
We’re pleased with the work the current school board has done. We support re-electing all four incumbents and newcomer James Barrett. Here’s why:
Jamezetta Bedford: An accountant, Bedford has served on the board since 2003. She worked as a substitute teacher in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools while raising her three children, who are now grown. Her children each fit a category: gifted; special needs; regular kid. Her grandson provides further impetus for her to make sure our school system remains top-flight. Her accounting skills will be a boon as state and federal funding for schools decreases.
Mia Borroughs: The current vice chair, Burroughs was first elected to the board in 2007 and had been a classroom volunteer for 10 years while her children were young. She has made her career advocating for nonprofits that serve youth. On the board, she has taken a special interest in protecting children from falling through program cracks.
Mike Kelley: Former board chair (2009-10), has served on the board since he was first elected in 2003. A research physician at Duke University Medical Center and the Durham VA, he made time to volunteer in the public schools for years. All four of his children are academically gifted and went to public schools. Yet Kelley ensures that the schools serve students of all academic levels. With a new superintendent this year, rely on Kelley’s experience to facilitate a smooth transition.
Annetta Streater: A dental hygienist, Streater has completed additional leadership training over the years. Her two children attend public schools in the district, where she has held leadership roles as a volunteer. She joined the board in 2006. She has worked to close the minority achievement gap, increase teacher and staff diversity, and encourage parent involvement.
James Barrett: A CHCCS alumnus, Barrett continues the tradition with his children. He manages software developers at IBM, and he brings an ability to analyze data about how schools are performing. He volunteers as a math tutor in the schools and coaches rec-league baseball and basketball. A founding member of the strategy and education teams of Orange County Justice United, he has worked with local governments to advocate for improved social justice and has built relationships with government officials.
– Nancy Oates