Looking over at her former boss Dr. Gene Hales, Dr. Linda Brunson expressed her excitement about beginning the next chapter in her life.
“I’m ready to do this,” Brunson said with a laugh Wednesday morning, just minutes before she was officially sworn in as a member of the Clinton City Board of Education.
Surrounded by family and friends, as well as CCS superintendent Dr. Stuart Hobbs Jr. and board members Carol Worley, Mike Lanier and Randy Barefoot, current Clerk of Court Dwight Williams administered the oath to Brunson in his downstairs office at the courthouse.
Brunson was appointed to fill the vacant board seat after the recent passing of E.R. Mason. She will serve the unexpired term through 2020.
As a graduate of Clinton High School, Brunson said she always wanted to return to the system and work to make a difference in the lives of as many students as possible. After three decades in the educational field, she retired, but has decided serving on the board will be one way she can continue to give back to the community that has shown her support.
“I am excited about beginning this new opportunity that awaits me,” Brunson noted as she thanked her family and friends for their support. “I will give more than 100 percent. Hopefully we, as a board, will work collaboratively to do what is best for our kids.”
Brunson, who calls herself a visionary, served in several capacities with Clinton City Schools before her retirement. She served as a teacher assistant, a teacher, assistant principal, principal, central office personnel, assistant and associate superintendent and instructional coach. She currently serves as a teaching associate professor for East Carolina University and as university supervisor for teacher interns at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington.
After seeking input and interest from the community, and requesting interested parties submit letters of interest to the board, the board received and reviewed those letters, then asked those five candidates to speak before the board last week.
Brunson was joined by four other candidates, including Roscoe Emanuel Jr., Perry Gillespie, Regina Lucious and Dr. Oscar Rodriguez, who showed interest in the vacant board seat. Following the candidate presentations, board members voted 3-2 to appoint Brunson. Members Worley, Barefoot and Lanier voted in favor of Brunson, while other members Georgina Zeng and Jason Walters voted in favor of Rodriguez.
Brunson and the rest of the board members are now tasked with finding a superintendent for Clinton City Schools. Former superintendent Dr. Stewart Blount retired in February, only to announce his plans to run for a position on the board.
The terms for Worley, Barefoot and Zeng are set to expire in June, and both Worley and Zeng refiled for their seat. Barefoot did not file, leaving one seat open. Blount filed just before the noon deadline on the last day of filing.
Following recommendations from the North Carolina School Board Association, the board accepted applications for the position through last week, receiving a total of 34 applications from 12 different states.
Those applications are now under review by the NCSBA and will be made available to the board during next week’s work session. Between that time and June 4, the board will review them and choose candidates to be interviewed in the first round.
Finalists will be chosen between June 18-24 and final interviews will be conducted between July 16-22. Contract discussions will take place between July 23-27. A final announcement is planned for July 27, with employment to begin Aug. 27.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.