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The Daily Tar Heel

Orange County Schools board member resigns for health reasons three weeks before runoff


The Orange County Board of Education building sits on East King Street in Hillsborough on Monday, March 28, 2022.

Updated April 23 at 2:18 p.m.: In a statement released Tuesday on her campaign website, Moore said she is currently undergoing medical treatment and was grateful for her time serving on the Orange County Schools Board of Education.

"Serving on the Orange County Board of Education was an honor to me," Moore said in the statement. "During this time, my colleagues were aware that I have battled several serious health issues that have increased in severity over time. My medical issues have taken a severe toll on my physical health, and I am currently undergoing medical treatment."

It was still unclear Tuesday if Moore would continue her runoff campaign for the election on May 14.

Jennifer Moore, a member of the Orange County Schools Board of Education and a candidate in a May 14 runoff election to retain her seat, officially resigned from the board during a meeting on Monday night amid concerns about the legitimacy of her doctorate degree.

Moore had been honored by the board in 2021 for earning a doctorate in business administration from Bellevue University and had been referred to with a doctorate title on both the OCS website and during board meetings. But, according to reporting from the News & Observer, neither Bellevue University in Nebraska nor Bellevue College in Washington have a record of Moore's degree.

During Monday's meeting, board chair Anne Purcell said Moore resigned for "health reasons" and did not mention the N&O's reports. Moore was not present at her normal spot at the dais during Monday's meeting, and the motion to approve Moore's resignation was quickly passed.

Moore's campaign website — which had been operational as recently as Friday — appeared to have been taken down Monday. The contact page on the website had been removed before Friday, according to archived versions of the website. It was unclear Monday night if she would continue her campaign, and Moore did not respond to a request for comment.

The resignation will not impact the runoff election, Orange County Elections Director Rachel Raper said in an email. Mail-in ballots have already been sent to many voters, and in-person early voting in the race begins on Thursday.

Instead, according to board policy that was most recently reviewed in January, the OCS board will need to vote to appoint a member to replace Moore's now-open seat. The board may choose to either accept resumes from the public or nominate candidates themselves.

Moore served on the board since 2020, when she finished second to Bonnie Hauser — who is now Moore's opponent in the runoff. Moore defeated Hauser in the March election, but was about 60 votes short of avoiding a runoff.

Hauser has been endorsed by the Friends of OCS, a small group primarily concerned with issues like graphic material in schools’ curriculum, increasing parental involvement in students’ education and decreasing the influence of political agendas in academic instruction. Susan Halkiotis, a leader in the Friends of OCS, was quoted in The Assembly in August as saying diversity and inclusion initiatives have unfairly favored Black students over other groups.


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Ethan E. Horton

Ethan E. Horton is the 2023-24 city & state editor at The Daily Tar Heel. He has previously served as a city & state assistant editor and as the 2023 summer managing editor. Ethan is a senior pursuing a double major in journalism and media and political science, with a minor in history.

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