Bilbro seeks seat on school board

Published 4:26 pm Saturday, February 1, 2014



Michael Bilbro, a candidate for the Beaufort County Board of Education, believes the biggest challenge that board members face involves teachers.

“Trying to build for the future of our children is an arduous task. It’s one that’s not envied. I would think the biggest challenge that we have is making sure we keep our teachers motivated and wanting to stay in the profession, making sure they’re (appropriately) paid for the work they’re doing — they they’re compensated for they tough job that they’re doing,” Bilbro said.

Bilbro wants to represent District 6 on the school board. That seat is held by Teressa Banks. Bilbro has three children who attend Beaufort County Schools, a son at Eastern Elementary School, a daughter at John Cotten Tayloe Elementary School and another daughter at P.S. Jones Middle School.

Bilbro explained why people should vote for him.

“I’ve got a lot invested, as do many community members, with children. I’ve got three children at separate schools. My mother taught in the system for many years. My wife … works in the school system. I think we just all owe everything we can to children, in general, and education of the utmost important,” Bilbro said.

Bilbro discussed the factors that motivated his decision to seek a seat on the school board.

“I guess I’m at a time in my life where I think I’ve got enough educational experience myself that it’s time to give back. Being an active community member, I guess it’s a responsibility that I feel for myself that it was time to do something like this,” he said.

If elected, Bilbro said, there are several things he would like to address.

“I guess the first thing I’m going to do is be a good listener, use 80 percent of my time listening and 20 percent giving back at first. When I first started thinking about running, I tried to just open my mind up and say, you know, what are the most important things to myself that I see maybe are going well but they can better — graduation rate is probably one thing,” Bilbro said. “I’ve worked at the hospitals as an administrator, so a healthy lifestyle is important to me in making sure that kids start out off on a good foot in regard to a healthy lifestyle. I’ve read a lot recently about how we rank among the world … looking at science, technology, engineering and mathematics. I think that’s something we fall back from a country and can start locally.”

Bilbro also believes the school board needs to be as fiscally responsible as possible and better manage the school system’s finances.

“I want to make sure we’re testing right, making sure that we’re not pigeonholing children to one way of educating — that we all learn differently. Making sure that our administrators and teachers are accountable for education, as are parents accountable for it; that we are all working together,” Bilbro said.

Bilbro wants to ensure the school system incorporates technology such as computers and tablets into students’ curriculum as much as possible.

“I guess it’s contemporary, and today’s it’s possible as far as technology is concerned,” he said.

Bilbro, a Republican, graduated from Washington High School in 1991, earned a degree in psychology from East Carolina University and earned a master’s degree in health-care administration from Ohio University. He was president of the Beaufort County Mental Health Association for four years. He serves on the Beaufort County Crime Stoppers’ board of directors.

This election cycle, the even-numbered seats on the nine-member Board of Education are up for election. The filing period begins at noon Feb. 10 and ends at noon Feb. 28.

“It’s a new opportunity for me. I look forward to it. It’s gong to be a challenge, but I look forward to it going forward,” Bilbro said of his campaign for a seat on the school board.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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