Due to a board vacancy, Lisa Kaylie was appointed to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education on Feb. 18.
Kaylie, former chairperson of CHCCS’s Special Needs Advisory Council, said she has always been interested in public education.
“I’m someone who believes that if you want something to be better, you should put in the work,” Kaylie said.
In the November 2020 election, Amy Fowler was elected to the Orange County Board of County Commissioners, leaving her seat on the CHCCS Board of Education empty.
Jeff Nash, public information officer for CHCCS, said in the case of a board vacancy, board members can choose to fill the position by appointing someone or leave it unfilled.
Nash said the remaining six board members created an application process open to anyone in the community. Over 20 people applied, but only 12 were invited to have a public interview with the board.
Once narrowed down to two applicants, Kaylie and Carmen Huerta-Bapat, a global studies professor at UNC, the board voted three times — each ending in a tie. Chairperson Jillian La Serna suggested a coin flip, and four board members approved the motion, with members Joal Broun and Mary Ann Wolf voting no.
"I am struggling with a coin flip, I don't have a better suggestion, but I am struggling with it," Wolf said at the meeting.
Nash said the board felt the two remaining candidates who kept receiving tied votes were equally qualified.
"Very strong candidates lead to a situation where it's very hard to select," La Serna said at the meeting.
The Special Needs Advisory Council’s current chairperson, Lindsay Bedford, said the council is a group that helps parents, district and school staff work collaboratively on the improvement of the quality of education for students with special needs in the district.
Kaylie is a mother of a special needs student in a Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School, and the council president of PTA.
“My older son is on the autistic spectrum,” Kaylie said. “When we first moved to Chapel Hill, he was entering kindergarten and he did not have the best entry experience.”
Because of her role as former SNAC chair and a member of the PTA, Kaylie was already acquainted with the board, Nash said.
Kaylie said she looks forward to her formal swearing-in on March 4, when she becomes an official member of the board, so she can get to work on her goals for the district. Her goals include improving the safety of students as they go back to in-person schooling, increasing equity within the district and encouraging greater community involvement.
“Public education did not create the opportunity gap and it cannot fix the opportunity gap alone,” Kaylie said. “We need other parts of the community to step up. It hurts me to see it blamed for the failure I don’t think are really the failures of public education but of society overall.”
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