RALEIGH — Eric Davis was chosen to replace Bill Cobey as chairman of North Carolina’s State Board of Education.
Davis recently became vice chairman after A.L. “Buddy” Collins left to campaign for a seat on the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners. Board member Alan Duncan was chosen as the new vice chairman.
The votes during a meeting of the board Thursday, Sept. 6, to approve Davis and Duncan were unanimous.
Cobey announced in July he wouldn’t seeking another term as chair, explaining that “5 1/2 years as chairman is long enough.” In August, Cobey reported he would resign from the board this month.
In August, board members Greg Alcorn and Becky Taylor also announced their resignations from the board. Cobey, along with Taylor and Alcorn, were appointed in 2013 to the board by former Gov. Pat McCrory. The Sept. 6 meeting was the last day for all three board members.
“I’ve told many people this is the best board I have ever sat on, and it is,” Taylor said.
Taylor is leaving to live with her husband full-time in their beach house in Carteret County, which isn’t in the region she was appointed to represent. She praised the SBE staff for their hard work and said she feels the board is in good hands with Davis and Duncan.
Alcorn is leaving the board to focus on his early childhood education nonprofit called ApSeed, but he may return to the board at some point.
“I do want to come back,” Alcorn said in his brief farewell speech. “I feel like the relationships we’ve built are timeless and the thing I got out of this in terms of investments are priceless.”
Cobey said he was speaking from the heart when he said this is the best board he has ever served on.
“I really take comfort that in spite of conflict and confusions, starting and stopping on things, and really working our way through issues, that we’re going forward,” Cobey said. “We’re making progress. Public education is getting better in North Carolina.”
Gov. Roy Cooper stopped by at the start of the board meeting to share his education agenda and to bid farewell to the departing board members.
“Bill Cobey’s interest was putting the children of North Carolina first,” Cooper said. “I’m grateful he’s given his time and effort to this endeavor.”
Cooper urged for a bipartisan approach to improving education.
“We need to do everything we can to look for the good in each other’s proposals,” Cooper said. “We’re not always going to agree, but we have to have a position where we can achieve consensus. … Our children are depending on us. This board can make a real difference.”
Lindsay Marchello is a staff writer for Carolina Journal.