Board hopes to fill school seat by Aug. 1

By Rita Frankenberry

Staff Writer

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The Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Board of Education has set an ambitious deadline for appointing a new board member to fill Allison Wills’ vacant seat.

The school board has two months to find Wills’ successor, but board Chairman Barry Overman said yesterday he hopes to have the new member appointed by Aug. 1.

“We’ve got 60 days, but we don’t want to drag our feet,” Overman said, adding that the school board wants to have its seventh member in place before the school year starts in late August.

Wills resigned her Inside City school board seat last month. The newly appointed candidate will serve the remainder of Wills’ four-year term, which ends in November 2014.

Monday was the application deadline. Eleven candidates submitted applications and board members will whittle down the field over the coming weeks.

“We distributed copies of all the applications to board members,” Overman said.

The school board’s remaining six members will have at least a week to go over the applications and pick their own top four candidates. They will then meet to discuss the group’s top two or three candidates.

“Typically, when we get together we can find out more about the applicant just by discussing them,” Overman said. “Things that the resume just doesn’t cover.”

The school board will then arrange interviews with the top remaining candidates.

“We don’t want to settle on a candidate based on just their application,” Overman said. “We want to make sure we really take the best candidate for the position.”

Once a finalist is selected, Overman said the school board will confer with the school district’s attorney to make sure any background checks or other necessary information is completed before bringing the appointee onboard.

Overman said school board members were pleased with the number and quality of applicants that are seeking to fill the seat. The group includes city of Elizabeth City Director of Human Resources Katherine Felton; former Elizabeth City State University administrator Gerald McCants; former Northeastern High School Principal Donald Sisson; J.C. Sawyer Elementary School’s outgoing parent-teacher organization President Pamela Pureza; local business owner Earl Miller; retired educator Lennard Bartlett Sr.; Gloria Frelix, Damika Howard-Wayne, Jean Harris, Tara White and Virginia Houston.

“We have a good diversity of applicants, so that’s great,” Overman said. “It gives us a good opportunity to find somebody to represent our kids and that’s what we’re looking for.”