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The Daily Tar Heel

Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education seeks to hire new member

After an unexpected resignation, a local school board is left with one empty seat and two options to fill it.

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education must replace former member Joe Green, who resigned Sept. 17 after accepting a position as the Executive Director of Educational Opportunity Programs at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis.

The process for selecting Green’s replacement might be decided at tonight’s meeting.

Mike Kelley, chairman of the school board, said there are no state guidelines for making the selection.

The board has two options for filling the vacancy. Previously, members have used a hiring system based on community applications, interviews and a vote, Kelley said.

The board’s second option involves appointing a former school board member.

Although the application process has been used for selecting the past four board members, different circumstances may prompt a change in this procedure, Kelley said.

Within the next six months, the board must select a new superintendent following Neil Pedersen’s retirement announcement. It is important that all seven board members be very familiar with this process, Kelley said.

The second option would ensure that a new board member is in place for the majority of the superintendent search process.

Board member Greg McElveen said the board will seek a replacement that values community ideals.

“Fundamentally, we’re looking for someone who we think will represent the community’s and students’ interests well and help us to make further progress in achieving goals and success for our students,” McElveen said.

As one of three minority board members, Green’s departure leaves the group less diverse than before.

The board represents the community, and to do so adequately, it has to represent all of its dimensions, Kelley said.

Michelle Cotton Laws, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said keeping the school board diverse is extremely important.

“When we ignore the value of having those people present at the table, we run the risk of not having the full perspective of that part of the population,” she said.

“There is no place here in the 21st century for a homogenous board of any kind.”

Kelley said the public is invited to attend all regularly scheduled board meetings to share their opinions on what characteristics a new board member should possess.

“The community’s joint wishes expressed through the process are more important than any individual’s opinion,” he said.

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