School Board leader succumbs

Published 4:25 pm Tuesday, April 9, 2024

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JACKSON – In the boardroom where the Northampton County Board of Education meets, an empty chair and a portrait marked the absence of one person during their meeting on April 8.

Lucy Edwards

Lucy Edwards, who had been serving as Board Chair, passed away on Saturday, April 6. She was 76, and lived in Henrico with her husband, Grover.

“It’s truly a void in here today,” said Vice Chair Theresa Cade, who facilitated the meeting.

Northampton School Superintendent Dr. Rosa Atkins noted that, even in Edwards’ last days, she had planned to call into the meeting to take part. As such, they decided to hold Monday’s meeting as usual to honor her dedication.

Dr. Atkins and members of the Board spent a portion of the meeting reflecting on the legacy left behind by Edwards.

“Her kindness and unwavering commitment and vast educational expertise has enriched the lives of countless students, staff, and community members,” Atkins said. “She made us all smile. She made us never forget we are Team Northampton, and we are better together.”

“Mrs. Lucy Edwards’ legacy will forever be cherished for her warm smile, generous spirit, and tireless dedication to serving others,” she concluded.

Board member Clinton Williams described Edwards as an academic icon and passionate educator, who decided to continue that legacy by serving on the school board after her retirement from a career in education.

“As expected, Mrs. Edwards has led our Board of Education with professionalism and compassion, and never did she forget that she was at the table for children,” he said. “When we have been at pivotal points in making critical decisions, Mrs. Edwards would respectfully give her opinion, oftentimes using her own experiences, to help create understanding and harmony so that the board can make the best decision.”

“I, along with others, found her to be a role model. She lived with grace and people respected her,” Williams added.

“She was worth listening to,” said Board member Barbara Stephenson, who described Edwards as a mentor. “Her ideas and opinions were valuable on the local, state, and national level.”

Stephenson said she will cherish their memories together.

Board member Tony Burnette emphasized that Edwards was a trailblazer who leaves behind a legacy of leadership.

“She’s someone who has touched the lives of generations of children, grandchildren, parents, and that’s all we can ask of as we travel through this world,” he stated.

“I’m so grateful that God allowed us to cross paths,” said Board member Dr. Marjorie Edwards. “Her legacy will live on long past the days that the Lord allowed her to be here.”

Dr. Edwards also said they should remember what Edwards always repeated: “Keep our focus on the children.”

Board member Rhonda Taylor said she’d received many calls from educators across the state expressing their condolences.

“They know what a leader Mrs. Lucy Edwards was,” Taylor explained. “She was a mentor to many people in Northampton County and the surrounding counties.”

“Mrs. Lucy, you will truly, truly be missed by all of us. And thank you for your support and our conversations we had over the years,” Taylor concluded.

Vice Chair Cade recalled spending time with Edwards when they were at conferences, and she said no course could ever teach her what she learned from their interactions and fellowship together.

“I’m honored to have labored with her, to know her, and I thank God for allowing me to serve with her, to see her as the trailblazer and the pioneer woman that she was,” Cade concluded.

Edwards’ 42-year educational career spanned multiple roles, including working as a teacher, a principal, and a central office director in Northampton County Schools as well as in other surrounding districts. She was first elected to Northampton County’s Board of Education in 2014, and continued to be reelected to subsequent terms, most recently in 2022. During her time on the school board, she served three times as the Vice Chair. She was chosen by her fellow board members to serve as Chair in 2023.

She was a member of the National School Board Association and the North Carolina School Board Association. At the time of her passing, she had been serving on the NC School Board Association’s Past Presidents’ Council.

Additionally, Edwards was an active member of many other groups, including the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, the Northampton County Chamber of Commerce, and the Northampton County Cultural Arts Committee.

Funeral services for Edwards will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, 2024 in the auditorium at Northampton County High School, 152 Hurricane Drive, Gaston.

Arrangements are being handled by Cofield Mortuary, Weldon.