Board of Education elects its leaders

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 3, 2009

By Holly Fesperman Lee

Salisbury Post

EAST SPENCER — By a split vote, Bryce Beard was returned to his post as chairman of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education during the board’s monthly meeting Monday.

After newly elected board members were sworn in at the start of the meeting, Superintendent Dr. Judy Grissom opened the floor for nominations for chairman.

“I’ve been asked by a supporting board member to nominate myself,” Beard said.

He talked of things he helped accomplish during the previous board term and asked other members to give him the opportunity to serve as chairman for another year.

Kay Wright Norman also nominated herself, citing her 12 years of service. Norman said she felt the board needed to evaluate itself. “We have not had a board chair that has been willing to do that,” she said.

Patty Williams nominated newly elected board member Karen South Carpenter. Williams said she knew it wasn’t normal to nominate someone new to the board to serve as chairman, but noted that Carpenter had served on the board before.

With nominations closed, Grissom called for a vote, starting with Beard.

Beard voted for himself and also received the votes of board members Linda Freeze and Jean Kennedy.

Norman voted for herself and also got the vote of board member Dr. Jim Emerson.

Carpenter voted for herself and was also supported by Williams.

A four-vote majority was needed, so board members had to reconsider their positions.

Carpenter announced that she would withdraw her name from the nominations. She thanked Williams for her nomination and said that in her heart she knew she could do a good job. But she said she also realizes there is a learning curve involved since she has not served for several years.

On a second vote, Beard got his own vote, as well as the votes of Freeze, Kennedy, Carpenter and Williams.

Norman voted for herself, but Emerson remained her only other supporter.

After the chairman position was decided, Beard took votes for the vice chair.

Freeze nominated Carpenter and Norman nominated herself. Carpenter won by a 5-to-2 vote. Norman voted for herself and also got Kennedy’s vote.

Also during Monday’s meeting:

* Carpenter added to the agenda discussion concerning going back to a committee structure.

She said that when she was on the board previously, board members served on various committees and the system allowed board members to be better informed.

Committees also allow for more input from community members, Carpenter said.

Beard said it might be a good time to reinstitute the committee system and decide if a separate work session is needed every month.

Presently, the board meets twice a month, once for a regular meeting and once for a work session.

Many board members commented that they’ve never understood the difference between the regular meeting and work session, saying it feels like two regular meetings.

Williams offered a different perspective, saying that principals sometimes felt they were being micro-managed by the committee system.

Carpenter, Norman and Williams agreed to work with Grissom to investigate going back to the committee system.

Contact Holly Lee at 704-797-7683 or