Applicants sought for school vacancy

By Corinne Saunders

The Daily Advance

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The Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Board of Education has begun seeking applicants for a school board vacancy that it hopes to fill by the end of next month.

Applicants for Erskine Morgan’s vacant Outside City seat will have until 5 p.m. on July 17 to submit an application to the superintendent’s office to be considered for the school board vacancy.

Applicants must be registered voters from one of the county’s five townships: Newland, Mt. Hermon, Providence, Nixonton or Salem. They cannot reside within the city limits.

Copies of the application, Form BBE-E, are available at the superintendent’s office at 1200 South Halstead Blvd., Elizabeth City, or can be downloaded from the district’s website, www.ecpps.k12.nc.us.

The school board plans to fill the vacancy created by Morgan’s resignation similar to the way it filled a vacancy when Allison Wills resigned from the board last year. The board has made a few adjustments learned from that experience they believe will make the process go smoother.

For example, applicants for Morgan’s seat will be asked for both phone numbers and email addresses, and a resume will be requested, although not required, Board Chairman Barry Overman said. He explained that having multiple ways to contact applicants will allow the process to move forward swiftly, and school officials won’t be waiting for callbacks from applicants.

The board also will not offer interviews to candidates who don’t meet the residency requirements this time around, he said.

Last year, the board mistakenly offered an interview for Wills’ vacant Inside City seat to a person who lived outside the city limits. One side of that particular street is considered within the city limits and the other side is not. As a result, the school board had to inform the applicant she was not in fact eligible for the position, Overman said.

He said the board will check residency as the applications come in this year, instead of checking once interviews are offered.

“We don’t want to put somebody through a bunch of trouble,” he said. “They have to live in one of the five county townships.”

Board members will review applications as they are able after July 17, and the board will call a special meeting in late July or early August to conduct interviews for some applicants, Overman said.

For the Wills’ vacancy, the board interviewed five applicants of the 11 who applied.

“All the interviews are done in an open public meeting,” Overman said, explaining that each board member will give a rating of how they felt each applicant answered each question.

“We take all those ratings (and) average them out,” he said, to rank applicants.

Board members will vote to approve whoever is selected, he said, noting that the interview, as well as the actual application and its content will be determining factors.

Overman said that job postings are easier, in a way, because specific experiences are sought. Filling an elected position isn’t quite the same.

“We don’t really have any pre-requisites,” he said. “You don’t have to have a master’s degree. You don’t even have to have a high school degree; just a good knowledge base and a desire to serve.”

To fill the vacancy, Overman said the board is looking for someone who is passionate about serving children — someone who will not only actively attend and participate in meetings, but who also will participate in the numerous activities outside of meetings.

Actively serving on the board is “a huge undertaking,” he noted.

Race and gender are not factors, Overman added. “If they live in the county they have just as good a shot as anyone else applying,” he said.

Under state law, the school board has 60 days from Morgan’s resignation to fill the vacancy. Morgan’s resignation took effect on Monday.