By Taylor Sisk
Incumbents Jamezetta Bedford and Mia Burroughs and challenger James Barrett have announced their intentions to run for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education. Five seats on the seven-member board will be open.
Bedford filed to fill a two-year vacancy left on the board when Joe Green resigned in September to take a position at Marquette University. Jean Hamilton was appointed to fill the seat until the election.
Burroughs and Barrett filed for full four-year terms.
Bedford is a CPA. Sheâ€™s served on the board since 2003, including two terms as chair: 2006-07 and 2010 to the present. She also has served as chair of the East Chapel Hill High, Phillips Middle and Ephesus Elementary school governance committees.
Bedfordâ€™s primary objectives will be helping smooth the transition to a new superintendent, Thomas Forcella, and improving literacy. The latter, she said, will go a long way toward closing the minority achievement gap.
â€œWeâ€™ve made progress in closing the gap, but not enough,â€ Bedford said. She wants to see technology used more effectively in doing so.
Among the boardâ€™s successes, Bedford pointed to the introduction of the Bridge Program at Chapel Hill High School. The program serves the academic and mental health needs of selected students from all four high schools.
Burroughs, a freelance grant strategist, will be running for her second term. She volunteered in the schools each of the 10 years her daughters attended Seawell and Estes Hills elementary schools.
If reelected, Burroughs said her focus will be to maintain the services in place and identify and improve those that arenâ€™t serving students well.
Among her initiatives on the board, Burroughs cites efforts to ensure that the board examines its own practices at least annually.
â€œWe still have too many students, particularly children of color and low socio-economic status, who leave our school system inadequately prepared for college or a career,â€ Burroughs said.
Barrett attended Seawell Elementary, Phillips Junior High and Chapel Hill High schools, and has 20 years of experience at IBM addressing global change. He has served on Orange County Justice Unitedâ€™s education action team and tutors math at Seawell.
â€œThis is an especially important year for the whole community to care about the race and take advantage of the opportunities with the new district leadership,â€ Barrett said. â€œWe need leadership on the school board that can make a difference in reaching our shared goals,â€ including closing the achievement gap and educating every child.
â€œNow is the time to do things a little differently to make real progress on those goals,â€ he said.
Incumbents Mike Kelley and Annetta Streater have not yet announced whether theyâ€™ll file for reelection.
By Taylor Sisk