11/08/06 — Thomas beats Smith in school board race

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Thomas beats Smith in school board race

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 8, 2006 1:45 PM

Board of Education member Lehman Smith lost an attempt for a third term Tuesday when former teacher and coach Dave Thomas won the District 1 seat by capturing 64 percent of the votes cast.

The final tally showed Thomas with 2,279 votes to 1,254 for Smith.

Thomas swept six of the nine precincts in the district that includes most of the northern part of the county.

Three other board members were also up for re-election to the seven-member board and ran unopposed -- John Grantham of District 4, George Moye of District 5, and Rick Pridgen of District 6.

Thomas has more than 42 years of experience in education, 30 of them in the Wayne County Public Schools. He spent a dozen years as teacher, coach and athletic director at Charles B. Aycock High School and 18 years as director of health, physical education, safety and athletics for the school system. He retired in 2003.

Upon learning the outcome of the election Tuesday night, Thomas first expressed appreciation to those who had helped him win.

"I would like to thank all the people that helped me with contributions and support and voted for me, worked at the polls, in just every respect," he said. "I will do my best to serve the students and parents and employees of Wayne County schools."

Thomas said his whole purpose for entering the election was to help others.

"My motive was to give something back to the students, the school and the community. It will be a real honor to be able to serve our community and students," he said.

In recent months, the school board has been working toward building support for a bond referendum to pay for school construction. Smith had been active on the Facilities Master Plan Team, comprised of representatives of the county commission and school board.

Smith said he was not surprised at the election outcome and added that he feels good about what he has done on the school board the past nine years.

"I don't think anyone could have done any more than I have," he said. "We have got a building plan in place and I think they can hold it together."

Smith said he wishes Thomas the best of luck in his new role on the Board of Education.

"I hope he can do more than I could," Smith said.