Board of Education selects new member to represent Belhaven, Pantego

Published 3:35 pm Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Beaufort County Board of Education has a new member representing District 3, following a special-called meeting of the board Wednesday. By a 5-3 vote, the sitting board members selected Thomas “T.W.” Allen to fill the vacancy left by the passing of Board Member Barbara Boyd-Williams in June.

The board rendered its decision after interviewing Allen and Onika Credle, wife of Belhaven Mayor Ricky Credle. Both were given an opportunity to share information about their background, their reasons for applying and what they hoped to contribute to the board.

Ultimately, board members Terry Draper, Butch Oliver, Carolyn Walker, Terry Williams and Michael Bilbro cast their votes for Allen, while Chairman Mac Hodges, Eltha Booth and E.C. Peed cast their votes for Credle.

Allen and Credle both grew up in the Belhaven area, attending the local elementary and middle schools before graduating from Northside High School in the early 1990s.

Prior to voting, board members reminded both of the applicants to keep in mind that the term for the District 3 seat expires in 2020, encouraging the two to consider running in that year’s election.

“A bunch of us run unopposed,” Butch Oliver said after the vote. “The fact that both of you desired the position enough to come do this is fantastic. I encourage you both to run again.”

Allen will be sworn in next Tuesday, during the board’s regular monthly meeting. He joins the group at a time when budgetary concerns and the search for a new superintendent are top priorities.

“We’re up against the clock now,” Hodges told the applicants. “We’ve just received the applications from our superintendent search, and none of us have seen the applications. It’s going to be overwhelming to all of us, and it’s going to be time consuming. This is a monumental task to find the person to take the school system forward.”

There are currently more than 40 applications for the superintendent position. Hodges said that the board would like to have a new superintendent in place by January at the latest.

“It’s probably going to be one of the most important things you do as a board member,” Walker said.

Allen works as a system engineer for Tideland Electric Company, traveling throughout Beaufort County and the surrounding area. In terms of community involvement, he told the board that he is active in the church, as well as Cross Trail Outfitters, a youth organization that teaches kids about the Bible through hunting and fishing.