Eddie Radford beats Faulk to earn at-large schools seat
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 5, 2008 1:46 PM
Eddie Radford, left, is pictured with his granddaughter Hanna at a friend's Goldsboro home after winning the at-large seat on the Wayne County Board of Education.
Winners in the hotly contested school board races -- Eddie Radford and Thelma Smith -- were among the last to find out final results Tuesday night.
At-large candidate Radford received 53 percent of the vote over Ven Faulk, who had 46 percent.
Incumbent Mrs. Smith retained her seat on the board for District 3, earning 71 percent of the vote, while contender Charles Wright received 29 percent.
Shirley Sims ran unopposed for her District 2 seat.
At a gathering of friends in the northern end of the county, Radford said Tuesday night he had initially watched results but became too nervous.
"I was still doing some cleanup on campaign stuff," he said. "We sat around and watched it on TV a little bit. A friend had it on the Internet and called and gave me updates."
He was happy about the outcome, he said.
"We feel like we did a good job. We worked the polls every day," he said. "We did the very best we could. ... I'm excited about it because I really wanted to hopefully do some things that will help the county out. I think I can work with the commissioners, I think I can work with the board members."
One of his best traits -- working with children -- will be his strong suit as he takes office, Radford said.
"... I'm not going to forget the kids," he said. "I think that kids are the best thing we have got going for us. I hope I can maintain a good rapport with them. I'm more than willing to talk with kids."
Faulk could not be reached for comment.
Mrs. Smith spent most of election night hosting an appreciation dinner for workers in her campaign -- too busy to even realize the final outcome of the race. As well-wishers arrived from the polls, they would bring updates.
A caller on her cell phone brought the news that she had won, but by then, she was already headed home.
"I decided to come home, put my feet up, try to enjoy the rest of the evening right by myself," she said. "I'm just sitting here trying to absorb it all and just wind down."
She did receive a congratulatory call from her opponent, she said.
It was an exhausting campaign, particularly since the last two times she ran without opposition.
Completing her 12th year on the school board, she said she remains enthusiastic about representing schools in the central attendance area.
It is fraught with unique challenges, however, she said. The six city schools have a high percentage of minority students and serve an economically challenged population.
Perception problems are one factor Mrs. Smith will continue fighting to change.
"There are elements in the central attendance area that don't feel like we're moving fast enough ... (but) it's not quite that way," she said.
Despite frustration over the process, she said she remains hopeful.
"I want to continue this particular term," she said, hinting that it might be her last. "Since we have started this dialogue with the business community and trying to bring the county commissioners and the business community together, we're trying to put us all on the same page.
"We have got to do better. We have got to make it even better. But as long as we can talk to each other and not at each other, I do believe there are people with more ideas, a few more things that we can get done."
She would ideally like to introduce more academies at Goldsboro High School and to take action to improve credibility there.
"I'd like for people to feel better, destroy the perception that it's not as good as other schools, that you can't get a good education there," Mrs. Smith said. "I know that you can. I would love to see that change before I leave. I just want people to have that feeling about those schools once again. It was there when I taught there years ago."
Calls to Wright were not returned.