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A retired Wake County principal from eastern Wake County is throwing his name into consideration for the district’s open school board seat.
Tom Benton of Zebulon on Jan. 2 said he planned to submit his application to the school system early Thursday morning.
“I’ve got some useful experience, and I consider myself a consensus builder ... this is a really good opportunity to step in and try to have an impact,” Benton said. “I’m too young to stay at home and do nothing.”
Benton, 62, has a master’s degree from UNC-CH in school administration and spent 32 years as an educator in Wake and Pender counties before retiring as Principal of Durant Road Middle in Raleigh in 2005. He was named Principal of the Year in both Wake and Pender counties and was later named 2004-05 North Carolina Middle School Association’s Region 3 Administrator of the Year.
Benton, a registered Democrat, declined to talk about his views on hot-button issues such as the student assignment plan. Instead he stressed the need for bipartisanship and addressing the schools that need the most help.
“There are a lot of issues facing the board right now. I see a real need to represent the (eastern Wake) district,” he said. “I’d like to make sure we’re honest about the amount of resources students need in order to receive a quality education.”
Education advocates in eastern Wake say they’re frustrated the region doesn’t receive more attention from the school board considering its low SAT scores and high poverty rates.
Chris Malone, who formerly represented Knightdale, Wake Forest, Rolesville, Wendell, and Zebulon, is from Wake Forest. Malone in November won his bid for a seat in the N.C. House and resigned from his position on the school board in December.
As of Jan. 2, only one other District 1 resident – Wendy Ford of Wake Forest – had applied for the open school board seat. Ford, also 62, served 19 years on the school board of the Churchville-Chili Central School District in New York. The school board is officially nonpartisan, but it is led by a Democratic majority, and election records show that Ford is a registered Republican.
Malone’s replacement would finish out his term, which runs through November. The new board member could also run in 2013 for a full four-year term.
The deadline to apply for the open seat was Jan. 4.