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Wagner re-elected as school board chair

By Rebecca Rider
rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Josh Wagner will remain at the helm of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education for another year.

The board re-elected Wagner at its Monday business meeting with little fanfare. Wagner was nominated by board member Travis Allen, while board member Jean Kennedy nominated Susan Cox for chairman.

Wagner won the position in a 4:3 vote, with members Dean Hunter, Allen and Cox voting for him. Wagner also voted for himself.

“I feel up to the task and am looking forward to and excited to fill the role,” Wagner said of what will be the start of his third year as chairman

But there was an upset when it came to the election of the Vice-Chair, a position held previously by Hunter. Hunter was nominated by Allen, but lost to Cox, nominated by Kennedy. Kennedy, Alisha Byrd and Dr. Richard Miller voted in favor of her election, and Cox also voted for herself.

“I feel that it’s a great responsibility,” Cox said of the vice-chair position. “I feel that it’s a different way to serve the county, and I want to do that.”

Prior to the start of the meeting, Cox and Hunter switched from their usual seats, with Cox sitting next to Wagner, a seat that for the past year was occupied by Hunter. Cox said they’d made the switch because the board had “anticipated what might happen.”

Wagner said the board still has a lot of work to do, but that he thinks the members work well together, and that hopefully the board will be just as effective moving forward.

“It’s an honor to be elected. It’s an honor to be re-elected, in general, to the board. And it’s an honor to be elected by your peers,” he said.

In other business the board:

  • Appointed Ryan Dissler as interim principal at Hurley Elementary. Former Hurley principal Karen Anderson submitted her resignation Thursday and left the school on Friday, according to school system Public Information Officer Rita Foil.
  • Approved the hiring of Candice Austin as the principal of Overton Elementary. Austin will begin work in January 2017.
  • Approved safety and roofing bids in the amount of $6.5 million.
  • Ok’d a property swap of approximately 71,000 square feet with the Cleveland Volunteer Fire Department. The swap will be taken to the county commissioners for approval.
  • Received an update on the Western Elementary School. The Cleveland property was approved by the county, and Assistant Superintendent Anthony Vann said he expected they would close on the property in the next week or so. Construction is slated to begin in June 2017 with the school opening in Aug. 2018.
  • Received an analysis on potential Orton-Gillingham phonetics professional development.
  • Directed North Rowan High principal Meredith Williams and North Rowan community principal Alexis Cowan to submit by the board’s Jan. 23 business meeting a plan detailing what North Rowan High School would do if it were afforded some of the same freedoms from state calendars as charter schools — a program the school can apply for under a new state initiative for low-performing schools.

The board will meet again on Jan. 9 at 8 a.m. for a combined work session and budget planning session in the Wallace Educational Forum board room, 500 N. Main St. The meeting is expected to last until 5 p.m.

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