Farren, Kite Win in School Board Race
Kathy Farren and Laura Kelly Kite won election Tuesday to the Moore County Board of Education, according to unofficial returns.
Farren, who was seeking re-election to a second term for the District 2 seat, defeated challenger Ed Dennison by a margin of 18,268, or 62.5 percent, to 10,843, or 37.14 percent.
Kite defeated Enola Lineberger by a margin of 17,277, or 58.24 percent, to 12,309, or 41.5 percent, to win the District 4 seat currently held by outgoing board member W. Joe Vaughn.
Board Chairwoman Lorna Clack and board member Bruce Cunning-ham both ran unopposed for re-election. But 342 write-in votes were cast against Cunningham. The names of the write-in candidates were not available at press time.
Farren said she was thankful for her support and was excited to continue serving on the school board.
"I really want to thank everyone for their support," she said Tuesday night. "I appreciate the voters' confidence and that they think I've done a fair job [as a school board member]. I'm grateful that they're willing to let me continue to work for their kids and Moore County Schools."
When asked about the wide margin of victory, Farren said she didn't take anything for granted until all of the results were in.
Farren, a local business owner, said she initially questioned whether to seek another term, but she soon realized that she loved serving and understood the importance of running again. She said that it takes more than one term on the board to be an effective member, considering there is a big learning curve for new members.
Farren said public input is invaluable to her. Before deciding to run again, she said she asked members of the community -- not just her friends -- if they thought she should seek a second term.
Farren said she advocates revamping the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Pinecrest. She said she favors running IB as the program it is meant to be -- which is done elsewhere in the state -- including Wake County. She argued that the "a la carte" selection of IB classes goes against the way it was designed. She said advanced placement (AP) courses are for "picking and choosing." Requiring students to enroll in the entire program will also prove if students really want IB or not, she said.
Farren said during the campaign she is concerned that spending so much money on the upper echelon of students hurts kids on the other end of the spectrum. She said top students have a fallback (AP, honors) if IB isn't available. Other students don't have those options.
Farren favors reinstating honors courses in the 11th and 12th grades and believes Pinecrest should give students as many options as possible.
Dennison ran his campaign based on his skills and his experience in education. He is a self-described "process guy, not an agenda guy" and thinks the board should be "heavily involved" in finding out what the community wants. During his campaign, he stressed the importance of establishing concrete policies goals, and parameters for the superintendent to execute. He said the current board's goals don't have any objectives or action plans to help achieve them.
The District 4 race pitted two candidates who promised to bring a fresh perspective to the board against each other.
Kite told The Pilot that she was thrilled about the opportunity to serve.
"I'm just really excited," she said. "I want to thank Enola for a great race. I'm happy that Moore County voters have faith in me. I hope to make them proud."
Kite is mother of a first-grader at Sandhills Farm Life Elementary and is a certified public accountant. She is a licensed school teacher in Indiana and is a member of the adjunct faculty at Sandhills Community College. She is also the chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of the Sandhills Children's Center.
Kite said she believes her financial background would be a valuable asset to the board. Her familiarity with accounting would allow her to explain complex budgeting issues to board members who may not be as familiar with them.
She said her primary job as a school board member is to be an "advocate for all children in a fiscally responsible manner." She said she doesn't "sugarcoat" anything and isn't afraid to express her opinion.
Kite said she doesn't believe the IB issue has been explained well to the public. She said she thinks IB is a great option to have available but doesn't agree that an entire school should be forced to teach it, as is the case at Southern Middle school. She said that while it works well for some, it may not be the best choice for others.
Kite said she will also make it a point to increase private fundraising efforts for the school system, something she thinks is lacking.
Lineberger is a mother of five who has been a volunteer in the Moore County school system for the past 18 years. She has been involved with Pinecrest's PTSA and the school system's calendar committee, among others.
The new board members take office in December. New board officers will be elected at that time.
Contact John Krahnert III at 693-2473 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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