LAURINBURG — It’s been seven months since Nick Sojka left as the Scotland County Board of Education attorney, but board members are getting closer tgo filling the psition.
In place of Sojka, the Scotland County Board of Education hired Eva DuBuisson, from Tharrington Smith LLP out of Raleigh, as an interim attorney while conducting a permanent replacement.
Two applicants remain for the position and both were interviewed on Monday before the monthly meeting — DuBuisson and local attorney Brandi Jones Bullock.
Bullock is a Laurinburg native who graduated from Scotland High School in 1996. After graduation, she moved to Durham and earned her bachelor’s degree in history from the University of North Carolina and obtained her masters in history from North Carolina Central in 2008. She began teaching social studies in the Durham area in 2000.
It was during her time teaching that she was on a student due process panel, and she realized she didn’t like the policies and wanted to change them — so she enrolled in law school.
The turning point came when the panel of three teachers made the recommendation for a 365-day, long-term suspension for a student who gave a Benadryl to another student.
“I did not agree with a 365-day long-term suspension,” Bullard said. “The reason that I did not agree with that was because the policy said mandatory 365-day long-term suspension. Out of those three teachers on the panel, I was the one who said no … . At that point in time, I said I need to go to law school because I want to change these policies … students need to stay in school as much as possible.”
It was in 2013 she graduated from North Carolina Central School of Law and, during her time in law school, she worked for the State Board of Education, where she helped write laws and policies in 2011 and 2012. After she graduated she worked as a school attorney for a charter school working to get their charter back.
While living in Durham she opened her practice, Jones Bullock PLLC, in Laurinburg and commuted for 18 month before moving back to Laurinburg.
DuBuisson obtained her law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law in 2007 and has also earned a master of public policy degree from the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University.
It was after graduation she began working with Tharrington Smith representing clients in the state and federal court as well as N.C. Office of Administration Hearings. She spoke to the board about her love for education law\.
She has also been a council member of the Education Law Section Council of the North Carolina Bar Association.
“I have worked exclusively with public schools,” DuBuisson said. “That is pretty much all that I do. In fact, I began working with Tharrington Smith as a law student around my second year of law school. So throughout my career, my main focus has been school law.”
Both women were given 30 minutes to answer the same eight questions for the board.
The two candidates answered questions such as the understating between the board, superintendent, and attorney, as well as what resources the two are able to use. There was also the question of if the candidates had gotten disciplined or reprimanded by the North Carolina Bar Association.
While Bullock said that she had not been disciplined by the Bar Association, she had been disciplined by the North Carolina Bar.
“In 2015 I performed legal services for an out-of-state law firm in Florida for a North Carolina residents,” Bullock said. “As a result, I was reprimanded by the North Carolina Bar because I took money from this Florida attorney to perform services for North Carolina residents.”
Bullock did respond that, despite this, she is in good standing with the North Carolina Bar.
DuBuisson had not been disciplined by the North Carolina Bar Association.
It will be at the Aug. 27 Committee of the Whole meeting that the board will choose the new attorney. The meeting will be held at the A.B. Gibson Center at 5 p.m.
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171 or at [email protected]