Telfair Simpson, current chairman of the Sampson County Board of Education, filed for re-election late Wednesday afternoon at the local Board of Elections, seeking his third term in office.
“I feel like we have an outstanding board,” said Simpson on Thursday when asked about his decision to throw his hat into the ring once again. “We work together really well. We may not always agree on everything but each is willing to listen to the other’s opinion and we always come to the best consensus we can for the school system.”
In addition to wishing to keep the existing school board intact, “I’m also excited about working with (superintendent) Dr. (Eric) Bracy,” he added. “Dr. (Ethan) Lenker did a lot of great things for us and Dr. Bracy is the same type of educator. We feel like he’s a perfect fit.”
As he anticipates continuing to work with Bracy and the school board for another four years, Simpson shared that “one of the main goals we have is to give our students the best education we can.”
In Simpson’s opinion, that doesn’t necessarily mean focusing solely on tests scores.
“I understand that we need some kind of measuring stick,” he acknowledged, “but we need to give them the best education we can so that when they graduate they’ll be able to step out and do what they need to do for themselves whether that be entering college or the work force…I’m excited that we’re starting a STEM school. I think that’s the first step.”
Simpson would also like to see those at the forefront of providing that education — local teachers — receive a pay raise.
Noting that the governor wants to raise pay for new teachers, he stressed that the same needs to be done for existing teachers. “They’ve gone about six years now without an increase and we’re asking them to do more and more every year.”
A Sampson native, Simpson graduated from Lakewood High School in 1982. He is married to Rosemary Simpson and has two sons, Coleman, a junior at Lakewood, and Wilson, a 2011 Lakewood graduate who is now serving in the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan.
So far only incumbents Simpson, Mary Brown, G.H. Wilson and Dewain Sinclair are seeking the open county school board seats. The filing period ends Friday at noon.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at email@example.com.