George Griffin, Riza Jenkins and Mike Sharp were elected to the three vacant spots on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education in Tuesday’s election, according to unofficial results.
“I just want to thank everyone, every voter, regardless of who they voted for,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins worked as the North Carolina voter empower coordinator for the NAACP and led its statewide Get Out the Vote initiative. She has also served as president of the CHCCS PTA Council.
“It’s been really great how the community has embraced this run I’ve decided to do for Board of Education,” she said.
Jenkins said that as a board member she plans to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.
“We cannot continue to have this achievement and opportunity gap,” she said. “We cannot continue to see students across the board not having the growth they should be having educationally.”
Sharp has worked for CHCCS since 2002, teaching in both elementary and middle school. He said that he plans to focus on addressing the opportunity gap in the district.
“One of the main things I’ve been talking about throughout the campaign is working on the opportunity gap between white kids and kids of color,” Sharp said.
Griffin has lived in Chapel Hill for over 40 years. He recently retired after 46 years in teaching and administration.
“I’m looking forward to working with the current board, the four board members that are still on the board, to build a positive learning culture for all students,” Griffin said.
The three new board members spent the day visiting different local polling locations.
“I’m for Riza Jenkins, Mike Sharp and George Griffin due to my importance in education," Betty Curry, 61, a Carrboro resident, said. "That's number one for me, so I hope to have justice in education at our schools, and I believe they are the ones that can make that happen.”
Many poll-goers said that they cared about the issue of education.
"City schools are a top issue for me," Carrboro resident Kenny Levine, 54, said. "I have kids in the school system, and I feel it is important that they get a real history of the United States."
Chapel Hill resident and teacher Joel Smith, 61, also voted because CHCCS Board of Education seats were on the ballot.
"I'm a middle school teacher, so school board elections are important for seeing how the teachers are supported," Smith said.
Griffin, Jenkins and Sharp defeated candidates Ryan Jackson, Meredith Pruitt and Tim Sookram.
“I just appreciate the opportunity and the discussion that we had about improving our schools,” Sookram said.
Pruitt was the only registered Republican candidate to run for the Board of Education. She outraised the next-highest fundraiser by nearly seven-fold, according to a 35-day financial disclosure report first filed in September.
“It’s been a really fun election season,” Pruitt said. “I’m thrilled by the amount of people who’ve come out to support my candidacy.”
Jackson did not respond to The Daily Tar Heel’s request for comment by the time of publication.
Staff writers Adaliene Andsager, Christian Phillips and Grant Alexander contributed reporting.
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