Two of three RSS school board members won’t seek reelection

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 6, 2020

By Carl Blankenship

SALISBURY — Josh Wagner and Susan Cox plan to let their terms expire this year without seeking another on the Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education.

Cox has served two terms, and says she has appreciated the opportunity.

“Most of it I’ve really enjoyed, but I think it’s time for someone else to have that opportunity,” Cox said, adding she has family she wants to spend time with and be available to.

Cox said she is “thrilled” Rowan-Salisbury Schools was made a renewal district by the state, and she thinks renewal is “life-changing.”

“I think our school system is moving in the right direction,” Cox said.

She cited the Wallace Educational Forum as a signature achievement, even though the building was controversial at the time, as well as a years-long overhaul of district policies.

Wagner, who has also served two terms, hasn’t been shy about his intent not to run again leading up to 2020 and said he is not running again because he believes in term limits.

“I think if you truly believe in term limits it is something you should impose on yourself,” Wagner said.

Wagner said people at all levels of government can make a career out of being elected officials, and he believes officials should do everything they can in a set amount of time before they become burned out and less effective.

Wagner said he was proud to get new legal representation for the district, consolidate Cleveland and Woodleaf Elementary schools into the new West Rowan Elementary School and working on getting board meetings record on video. Wagner said he hopes the board moves forward with redistricting.

“That’s going to take some real focus,” Wagner said.

Alisha Byrd-Clark, first elected in 2016, is the only of the three incumbents with terms ending who will be seeking reelection. Byrd-Clark said she wants to return to the board due to her passion for youth and education, and that she wants to see the completion of Rowan-Salisbury Schools renewal plan as well as the completion of a new K-8 consolidated school, between Knox Middle and Overton Elementary.

Byrd-Clark said no board is perfect but she thinks the diverse opinions are steering the district in the right direction.

Kevin Jones, Travis Allen, Jean Kennedy and Dean Hunter each have terms stretching through 2022.

Byrd-Clark represents the Salisbury area, Wagner represents the East area and Cox represents the Southeast area.

Candidates for school board will file in the summer for the three seats on the ballot in November. There is no primary for the school board race.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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