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School Board has fresh start

JACKSON – The two newest members of the Northampton Board of Education took their seats Friday afternoon.

The board also elected new officers for the coming year, installing Bill Little as chairman and Marjorie Edwards as Vice Chair.

During a rescheduled meeting, Kelvin M. Edwards Sr. and Rhonda Taylor received the oath of office for the first time as school board members. Incumbent Don Johnson, who was reelected in May, was also sworn in to begin a four-year term.

Board Attorney Rod Malone, who called the meeting to order in absence of a chairperson, allowed all three board members the opportunity to speak to the audience.

“Thank you,” Edwards said. “I look forward to working with the Board of Education to further the school system.”

Taylor said she was appreciative of those who supported her bid to become a school board member.

“Thank you to everyone who did vote for me,” she said. “I will do everything I can to help improve the schools.”

Johnson, who is beginning his 21st year as a member of the board, said he was thankful for the opportunity to serve another term.

“I’m beginning my 21st year and in the first 20 I never missed a meeting,” he said. “I’m dedicated to this. I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve another four years.”

After the words from those who had been elected, Malone asked for nomination for the position of chairman.

Board member Lafayette Majette nominated Little, who had served as vice chairman under the previous two chairpersons. Malone asked for additional nominations and none were made.

He then asked for the board to vote in Little as chairman by acclamation. The board voted 6-0 for Little with board member Erica Smith-Ingram absent.

Following his selection, Little thanked the board and pledged to give his all in serving.

“This is not a position that I sought or really cherish,” he said. “I enjoyed the years that I have served as Vice Chair. I have big shoes to fill in this position.”

Little replaces Grace Edwards, a veteran board member, who served as chair before being defeated in the May election.

“I have no agenda except to do all that we can for our students,” he said. “We want to begin with cooperation and partnership to do just that – work together for the common goal of doing what’s best for our students in Northampton County.”

Little then called for nominations for Vice Chair and Taylor nominated Marjorie Edwards for the post. Little closed the nominations and called for an acclamation vote with five in favor and one opposed (Johnson).

Johnson said he would like to explain his vote.

“There’s a member who isn’t here and I don’t even know if she would like to serve, but it was a possibility,” he said. “Still, I’ll go with the majority and support the wishes of the board.”

When Little called for a second vote, all six members voted for Edwards.