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City Council releases names of candidates to be interviewed for school board
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City Council releases names of candidates to be interviewed for school board

Lynchburg City Council on Thursday released the names of the eight candidates it will interview for three seats on the school board that will be vacant June 30.

According to a news release from the city, council opted to release the names of those being interviewed “in an effort to be more transparent.”

For the District 1 seat, council will interview four of seven applicants: James Hoover, Randall Trost, Clifton Reed and Rebecca Nelson.

District 1 represents Bedford Hills, Linkhorne and Paul Munro elementary schools, and Linkhorne Middle School.

Current District 1 School Board Member Belle Evans originally indicated to council she would be willing to serve again, but Mayor MaryJane Dolan said Tuesday that Evans had requested to have her name removed from consideration.

For the District 2 seat, council will interview two of five applicants: Gregory Berry and current District 2 School Board Member Sharon Carter.

District 2 includes Dearington and T.C. Miller elementary schools for innovation and Perrymont, R.S. Payne and Sandusky elementary schools; Sandusky Middle School; Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School for Innovation; and E.C. Glass High School.

For the District 3 seat, council will interview two of five applicants: Gloria Preston and current District 3 School Board Member Atul Gupta.

District 3 includes William Marvin Bass, Heritage and Sheffield elementary schools, Hutcherson Early Learning Center and Heritage High School.

This deviance from the typical appointment process comes after Councilman Jeff Helgeson urged council at its Tuesday meeting to consider making the process more open and transparent.

In years past, council receives applications for the school board vacancies, holds public hearings for community input on candidates and interviews select candidates in closed sessions before appointing school board members.

Helgeson mentioned some members of the community have an interest in being more involved in the selection of school board members and alluded to the group of Lynchburg residents pushing for an elected school board rather than an appointed one.

Council ended the open portion of Tuesday’s meeting seemingly in consensus that the names of applicants chosen to be interviewed would be released to the public but did not further discuss implementing changes to the appointment process. City code states council must appoint school board members as seats become vacant but does not outline the process by which they must be appointed.

Council will conduct interviews with these candidates and appoint one from each district to serve on the nine-member school board for a three-year term beginning July 1, 2021, and ending June 30, 2024.

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Education reporter

Cross covers K-12 and higher education for The News & Advance. An Asheboro, North Carolina native, Cross joined The News & Advance team in January 2020 after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in journalism.

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