Teaser School Board

After two rounds of voting on Monday, the Moore County Board of Education selected retired engineer John Weaver to fill its vacant District 5 seat.

The board appointed Weaver by a four-to-two vote in a closed ballot process during the specially-called meeting.

Weaver was one of five Aberdeen and Southern Pines residents who put their names forward during the two-week application window earlier this month. The seat was left empty with longtime board member Bruce Cunningham’s death in July. Cunningham’s term was set to expire in November 2020.

In the board’s first round of voting, the six sitting board members were evenly split between Weaver and Margo Drakos, a military spouse and mother of two who runs a national nonprofit organization focused on placing art educators in underserved schools. Former Aberdeen mayors Frank McNeill and Betsy Mofield, and Bethesda Presbyterian Church pastor Susan Hudson also applied.

“From reviewing the applications and talking with the applicants, I was really excited about the caliber of the applicant pool,” said Board Chair Helena Wallin-Miller. “Each of them had qualifications and experiences that would have been beneficial. It was a very diverse set of experiences that they each would have brought to the table, so it is not an easy task that we have in front of us right now.”

Board member Ed Dennison nominated Drakos to start off the selection process on Monday.

“She has excellent communication and time management skills, is goal-oriented, the skills and talent to work with others and a strong desire to serve children, especially those that are economically disadvantaged,” he said.

Betty Wells Brown then nominated Weaver, whose background she said will be relevant as the schools move forward with building three new elementary schools in Aberdeen, Southern Pines and Pinehurst.

Next week, the school board is scheduled to commence the last stages of adopting a districtwide plan to shift school attendance lines as those new schools open. Superintendent Bob Grimesey will recommend a plan to the board on Sept. 3, and a public hearing is scheduled on Sept. 12 before the board votes in October.

“With his experience, I feel that he brings a piece that is somewhat lacking on our board right now, especially since Bruce is no longer here,” said Brown. “His experiences, his leadership and knowledge seem to fill this gap that would help as we continue our construction of new schools, with redistricting Moore County Schools, and with operational knowledge of budgets.”

Weaver, a retired Duke Energy engineer, has been a Moore County resident since 1982. He’s a former member of the Southern Pines Planning Board and United Way of Moore County board of directors. He said his children attended Moore County Schools, and his grandchildren will as well.

“I’ve followed the issues that are facing the board and I felt I had some experience and leadership qualities that could provide input and help,” said Weaver. “I’ve got a huge learning curve so I’m reserving any opinions until I get into it.”

Weaver will serve on the school board through November 2020, when Cunningham’s term would have ended and the seat will be filled in the general election.

“I had an opportunity to speak to four of these applicants and had great conversations, talked to them about some of the major initiatives that we are working on and got some insight from them,” board member Pam Thompson said after the vote. “They were aligned with where we are and what we’re doing. I just appreciated their willingness to submit their name for consideration.”

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