Those with an interest in the welfare of education in Scotland County have until Dec. 10 to apply for the open school board seat vacated by the late James Underwood.
Underwood died suddenly last month at the age of 46. The Scotland County Board of Education elected to delay the search for his replacement until the installation of new members elected in November.
According to board chairman Charles Brown, the field is wide open for applicants, as, apart from existing residency requirements, the board has set no other criteria for who will be considered.
“We haven’t set out a list of things that we would look for,” said Brown. “We would like to have somebody that is interested in schools, interested in children, and interested in the welfare of our educational system. That’s a definite requirement.”
Applications will be reviewed at the December meeting of the Scotland County Board of Education, and the deadline may be extended from that point. The seat is one of the board’s at-large positions. Underwood was elected to the board in 2010, and his term will end in 2014.
Board member Darrel Gibson said that applicants should be willing to work as a team in the event that they are selected to serve on the school board.
“I do hope that those who apply for the position are people who are committed to providing excellence in education for all children, someone who is open to working with superintendent and present board to move the community forward,” said Gibson, who added that he would like to see applicants who support ideals similar to Underwood’s.
“Personally, I want to ensure that whoever fills that seat is someone who can uphold the morals and values that Mr. Underwood held,” he said. “He was diligent in believing in all children.”
To be eligible, applicants must live outside the Stewartsville Township. To enquire about eligibility, applicants should call the Scotland County Board of Elections at 277-2595.
Anyone wishing to fill the unexpired term should submit a résumé and cover letter to Nancy Smith, administrative assistant to the board at the A.B. Gibson Education Center. She can be reached at 322 South Main Street, Laurinburg, NC 28352.
Smith said that many have expressed interest in the position, but only one application has been submitted since the application period opened last week.
“I’ve gotten numerous calls from people wanting to know how to proceed and if they’re in the right district,” she said. “So far I have one cover letter with a résumé.”
At present, the board plans to interview applicants in January.
Although Underwood was a clergyman and had worked as an educator, those who have taught will not necessarily be weighted above other applicants.
“I would say the ideal candidate is a person that is knowledgeable about community, and has an education bend, so to speak,” said Brown. “You don’t necessarily have to be an educator. That would help, but you have to understand about business, education, the workings of government, and be a reader and a person that’s engaged and active in the community.”