Williams wins school-board bid

Published 2:52 am Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Staff Writer

The anti-incumbent fervor that many thought would usher in a wave of political newcomers in Tuesday’s election did not affect the outcome of four races for seats on the Beaufort County Board of Education, according to Tuesday’s unofficial returns.
The school board’s sole newcomer is Terry Williams, who defeated Revondia Harvey Barrow for the District 4 seat on the board. That seat is currently held by William S. Warren, who chose not to seek another term.
In the District 4 race, which includes Chocowinity, Williams carried all four of the precincts that are part of District 4 and the early voting to receive 1,617 votes, or about 89 percent of votes cast, to 208 votes, or about 11 percent, for Barrow.
Williams’ campaign focused on bringing “common sense” to the school board and emphasized his business experience. Barrow’s focus was concern about suspension policies, and she pledged to be a parental advocate.
“I’m absolutely overwhelmed,” Williams said after the ballots were counted. “I will work as hard as I can to earn the trust and respect of the voters.”
Williams will join incumbents Teressa Banks, E.C. Peed and Cindy Winstead who were re-elected Tuesday night.
In the District 2 campaign, Peed turned back write-in candidate Mary Gurley. Peed received 1,248 votes, or about 88 percent of votes cast, to 166 votes, or about 12 percent, for Gurley. Peed carried all five of the precincts included in District 2 (in the southeast part of the county) and the early voting in her race with Gurley.
Peed’s re-election bid emphasized the need to lower the drop-out rate in the county’s public schools. Gurley, who sought to return to the board after a 16-year absence, also used her campaign to emphasize the need for improving the drop-out rate.
“I am so glad to be re-elected,” Peed said in an interview Tuesday night. “I hope we can continue to work for the children of Beaufort County.”
In the District 4 campaign, Winstead turned back a closer challenge, defeating Ray Harris in her effort to return to the school board as the representative of the Bath area.
Winstead received 1,174 votes, or about 57 percent of votes cast, to 870 votes, or 43 percent, for Harris. Winstead carried four of five precincts included in District 4 and the early voting in her race with Harris.
Winstead pledged to use her experience as a school-board member to address the growing education needs in the community while facing a decline in funding. Harris vowed to address the inconsistency among curriculums at the county’s high schools.
“I’d just like to thank my supporters,” Winstead said in an interview Tuesday night. “I’m excited about serving the people for another four years.”
In the District 6 election, unofficial returns show incumbent Teressa Banks defeating challenger Chase Stallings in the race to represent the district, which generally comprises Ward 1 and Ward 4 in Washington.
Banks garnered 850 votes, or 63 percent of votes cast, to 494 votes, or 37 percent, for Stallings. Banks carried both precincts included in District 6 and the early voting in her race with Stallings.
Stallings ran a campaign which focused on combating student apathy, while Banks said in interviews before the election that the priority for the school board should be to preserve jobs — especially those that affect instruction.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to represent District 6 again,” Banks said Tuesday night. “I thank my friends and family for their support.”
The newly elected board members are expected to take office at the school board’s December meeting, school officials said Tuesday.
They will join incumbents Robert Belcher, Eltha S. Booth, F. Mac Hodges, Mike Isbell and Barbara Boyd-Williams, who will face re-election in two years, if they seek re-election.