07/21/10 — District 2 interviews begin today

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District 2 interviews begin today

By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 21, 2010 1:22 PM

A Dudley man who was in the running for consideration for appointment to the Wayne County Board of Education District 2 seat has withdrawn his name from consideration.

Lawrence Durham's decision to drop out of contention leaves only four candidates to be questioned this afternoon by the committee charged with making recommendations to county commissioners who will make the final decision.

In an e-mail last week to commission Chairman Jack Best, Durham, an artist, wrote, "Due to an increase in production and marketing of the fine arts business, I will not at this time be able to devote the necessary time and energy to serve."

The remaining four candidates for the school board seat left vacant when longtime board member Shirley Sims stepped down effective June 30 are Ven Faulk, Len Henderson and Dr. Dwight Bernard Cannon, all of Dudley, and Linda Pigford of Mount Olive.

They will be interviewed starting at 1 p.m. today in Room 111 of the Jeffreys Building, 134 N. John St. in the following order: Cannon Ms. Pigford, Henderson and Faulk.

The interviews will be followed by a review session Thursday at 1 p.m. at the same location.

Commissioners will meet in special session Friday at 9 a.m. to consider the committee's recommendation. The meeting will be held in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.

Wayne is the only county in the state that gives its commissioners that power. The appointment authority is a holdover from the merger of the Goldsboro city and county schools systems.

Serving on the committee with Best, who appointed the committee, are Jimmy Williams of Mount Olive, a former superintendent for the county's public schools; Paul Smalley, a former Mount Olive town commissioner; Thelma Smith, vice chairman of the school board; Andy Anderson of Pikeville, senior member of the Wayne County commissioners; Jim Parker, a former school board member; Shirley Bond, a retired educator; and Robyn Wade, a radio announcer.

Cannon is the pastor of St. James A.M.E. Zion Church in Goldsboro. He has served as pastor since 1980 at churches in North Carolina, Illinois and South Africa.

In his letter of intent, Cannon wrote, "When selected for this position, I intend to bring to the board the perspective of a concerned parent supporting two children in this school system in their curricular and extra-curricular activities, the compassion for educators as the husband of a veteran teacher at Rosewood Elementary School and the spirit of an open-minded team player having served this community and country holistically with physical, mental and spiritual devotion for six years."

He is a graduate of Greene Central High School in Snow Hill and attended Livingstone College in Salisbury and Brookstone College in Charlotte where he received a certified computer accounting degree. He has an associate of arts degree in philosophy and religious studies from Metropolitan College in East St. Louis, Ill.

In 2004, he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by Livingstone College for his service and work in Africa for the African Episcopal Zion Church and his work in the mission field. He is currently enrolled in Hood Theological Seminary working toward a master's of divinity degree.

He and his wife, Belinda, have two children.

Ms. Pigford is a graduate of Carver High School and is a retired educator. She earned a bachelor's degree in home economics education from North Carolina Central University and has completed graduate studies at the university.

In her letter, she asked to be considered for the post.

She taught physical science at Greenwood Middle School from 1971 to 1975 and vocational home economics at Southern Wayne High School from 1980 to 2000. She was the nutrition education coordinator for the county schools from 1975 to 1980.

She is treasurer and serves on the trustee board at Winn Chapel Missionary Baptist Church and is assistant building fund financial secretary for the Bear Creek Missionary Baptist Association.

In his letter, Henderson wrote, "I have been actively involved in the Wayne County School System for numerous years. I have always advocated for equality in education, providing quality curriculum and academia for all students, equal treatment in administering discipline and implementing far and impartial policies that affect our children."

Henderson is a graduate of Southern Wayne High School and received a bachelor's degree in Spanish from North Carolina Central University and a master's degree in health services administration from Central Michigan University (Cherry Hospital cohort program).

He has taught in the public schools and at O'Berry Center. He worked at Cherry Hospital and retired from his job as staff development director in 2003.

Henderson is a past president, first vice president and second vice president of the State Employees Association of North Carolina. He and his wife, Paula Renee, have two children and three grandchildren.

Faulk, who sought the at-large school board seat in 2008, said in his letter that as president of Shumate-Faulk Funeral Home he has experience with budgets and managing employees. He said that with five children in the school system that he has a vested interest in the system.

"I would not only fight to represent the students, faculty and parents of my district, but would also represent the over 19,400 students countywide," he wrote.

Faulk is a graduate of Goldsboro High School. He and his wife, Ashley, own a child care center and have operated one of the More at Four classrooms in the county.

He is an honorary lifetime member of the Dudley Fire Department where he served as president, chief, treasurer and is still a firefighter.