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Incumbents file in Bertie

WINDSOR – Two incumbents and one candidate hoping to make a return are the early filers for seats on the Bertie County Board of Education, one of two non-partisan elections that will appear on the November ballot.

The filing period ends Friday, July 6.

Incumbents Emma Johnson and Norman Cherry have filed for re-election, while Rickey Freeman – who lost a re-election bid four years ago – is hoping to take claim one of the three available seats on the board when the new board is sworn in come December.

Johnson, a retired educator, who chaired the board back in 2014, just prior to her last re-election bid of that same year, will be seeking to retain her District-3 seat. The Aulander native was first elected to the school board back in 2008. Originally, Johnson was chosen to fill out the unexpired of Michael Bracy, having been appointed to the seat after Bracy’s resignation. She ran for her first, four-year term in 2010.

Cherry, a former Bertie County Commissioner, serves District 4. He succeeded then-board vice-chairman Barry McGlone following McGlone’s untimely death in March of this year. Currently, Cherry is director of the Bertie campus of Martin Community College. He is also a retired teacher, principal, and administrator in the Bertie and Martin County school systems.

Cherry was among four candidates who were interviewed in April to succeed McGlone. He beat out former school board member and Kelford agri-businessman Alton Parker, Roanoke-Chowan Community College instructor Fannie Pugh, and Vivian Saunders, founder of the alternative school, The Hive, and former Family Resource Center director.

Saunders has now thrown her hat into the ring to oppose Cherry for the District-4 seat in November. That seat is currently the only one that will be contested; but there is still time left for other candidates to file.

Freeman, also a former school board chairman, is currently the Emergency Management/Environmental Health & Safety Coordinator for Elizabeth City State University and the former Bertie Emergency Management Coordinator. Freeman ran unsuccessfully to retain the District-2 school board seat in 2014, and was defeated by Jo Davis Johnson. Johnson had not filed for re-election as of Friday.

Meanwhile, two seats for Bertie County Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisors will be elected during the November 6 General Election. Those seats are currently occupied by Robert Hoggard and James Pugh. Pugh has filed for re-election to a third term. Meanwhile, William Blount Knowles is currently the only candidate to file for the other seat.