New faces are now sitting on both local school boards after all votes were tallied in Tuesday night’s election.
Five candidates were vying for three seats on the Sampson County Board of Education, one of which was incumbent Sonya Powell, who lost out to top vote getters Tim Register, Tracy Dunn and Pat Usher. Candidate Eugene Pearsall was also seeking a spot on the board, but came in fifth in the election.
A new face will be present during future Clinton City Board of Education meetings, as Mike Lanier has been elected to fill the vacant spot left by Diane Viser, who announced during filings that she would not be seeking another term. Incumbents Jason Walters and E.R. Mason will retain their seats on the board, as all three men beat out candidate Dana Scott.
Sampson County Schools
Dunn, a community volunteer and homemaker, earned 29.37 percent of the vote during the primary election. Register, a longtime educator came in second with 22.16 percent of the vote. Usher, a sales professional from Hog Slat came in third with 17.89 percent of the vote in Sampson County.
The candidates recently discussed their campaigns and the unofficial results of the election, which had a voter turnout of 35.69 percent of registered individuals.
Following the election, Dunn said she was humbled and honored to have the support of county voters.
“I can’t begin to thank them enough,” Dunn said. “I am excited about serving my first term on the Board of Education. It has been a lot of hard work but I am very pleased with the outcome. I look forward to serving with the incoming board members and also the existing board members as together we continue the work that is currently in progress.”
Register was very humbled with the support he received from supporters. During his upcoming tenure, Register said he wants to do the best job he can for children throughout the county.
“The main priority of every board member is to keep in mind the welfare of all the children,” Register said. “That’s certainly what I’ll try to do.”
Register said he wants to work with the board on issues and changes that are beneficial for students in Sampson County.
“I know there’s not a whole lot that one board member can do, but we can do a lot if we work together with the teachers, administrators to formulate a plan going to make our system as strong as it can. That’s what I’m going to try to do.”
“I appreciate the support I received, not just during this election, but during my career as an educator … I’ll try to be worthy of that support.”
During election night, Usher also showed appreciation after the votes were tallied by Sampson County Election officials.
“I’m very honored to be selected for the Sampson County Board of Education,” Usher said about becoming a newcomer. “I congratulate all of my competitors on running a tremendous race. Everybody was tremendously qualified to join this board. I feel fortunate to be one of those selected. I want to thank everyone who supported me and helped me through this process.”
Powell, a current board member and longtime Lakewood educator, followed Usher with 17.89 percent of the vote. She received 134 less than the third place candidate. As a result, she will not join the Sampson County Board of Education for the next term.
“I appreciate everybody in my efforts to be re-elected,” Powell said.
Clinton City Schools
Mason, who was seeking his fourth term as a school board member, earned 35.69 percent of the votes Tuesday night, with Lanier falling in second with 29.28 percent and Walters filling the final seat with 22.37 percent.
When contacted Wednesday morning following the results, all three men expressed their appreciation to the public for showing confidence with the votes.
“I feel very good about the results,” Mason stated. “I appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve on the board.”
Mason has severed three terms as a member of the Clinton City Board of Education. With more than 40 years of experience in the educational field, Mason says he knows he is the right choice when making decisions for the betterment of the children.
“I enjoy the work,” Mason said. “I have spent most of my life in education. Children are a top priority. As a team, I hope the board can work together to help our children and make a difference.”
Walters, the second incumbent, was elected to his second term on the board, hoping to continue the work and progress that has been made during his last four years on the board.
“I am very excited about being able to continue serving on the board,” Walter said. “There are things that I want to accomplish and I am glad I have the opportunity to keep working towards meeting those goals.”
Walters said he was excited about working with all the board members, especially newly elected Lanier, who will fill Viser’s seat on the board.
“I feel Mike will be a good asset to the board and Clinton City Schools,” Walters shared.
Lanier has expressed his intentions to work to accomplish great things for the school system and is looking forward to the challenge and responsibility of being a board member.
“I am very honored the people selected me,” Lanier said. “I feel I have a big responsibility and I want to do a good job. I appreciate the support I was able to get and for the voters thinking I will be a good asset to the schools.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.