Dean Hunter named chair of RSS Board of Education

Published 5:40 pm Tuesday, December 14, 2021

SALISBURY — Dean Hunter, a two-term member of the Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education, is the body’s newest chair.

Hunter was appointed to the position by unanimous vote during the board’s Monday meeting. He formerly served as vice chair when former member Josh Wagner was board chair during his first term on the board. Alisha Byrd-Clark was reappointed as vice chair by unanimous vote as well.

The RSS Board of Education appoints a new chair and vice chair for a one-year term each December. Hunter was nominated by outgoing chair Kevin Jones. Byrd-Clark was nominated by member Jean Kennedy.

Hunter said the board spoke about nominations individually. During those conversations, Jones said he wanted to nominate Hunter. While Hunter said he was interested in being chair, he decided to not pursue the position previously because of a busy schedule.

“It was expected,” Hunter said. “We talk about it, not as a board, but individually every year to kind of get an idea so there’s a consensus.

Hunter said he was pleasantly surprised everyone on the board agreed on the appointment and it was important to him for there to be consensus.

“I would express my gratitude to the other board members for having confidence in me,” Hunter said. “Voting unanimously to be able to serve as the chairman, that means a lot to me.”

On the RSS Board of Education, the chair gains some power and loses others. Hunter will direct the board’s meetings for the next year and is still able to vote on motions, but he can’t make motions himself.

Hunter said he wants to focus on bringing the district’s career and technical education programs to the forefront.

“I’m all for our CTE program, and I’ve been a pretty vocal proponent of that,” Hunter said.

The district’s CTE programs are prominent, but Hunter said the district can never do too much. He wants the district to advertise and promote options open to students and that the programs line up with districts goal to ensure every student is enrolled, enlisted or employed when they finish high school.

Hunter also pointed to Rowan County Early College as another program he sees as important and wants to help Superintendent Tony Watlington navigate in his new role. Watlington started with the district in January.

Hunter said he thinks it’s important for the board to be unified as much as possible and do what is right for staff and students. He pointed to a statistic that 38% of third graders in the district are reading proficient when saying improvement is something the entire board and superintendent can get behind as a major goal.

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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