Ormsby, Richardson, Greene, Aiken earn BOE seats

Daniel earns 65 percent of the vote to remain Clerk of Superior Court

By Kevin Spradlin

Complete Richmond County election results

ROCKINGHAM — Newcomer Bobbie Sue Ormsby was the top vote-getter among seven candidates for four open seats on the Richmond County Board of Education.

Ormsby earned 3,124 votes. Incumbent Joe Richardson was second with 2,957 votes, challenger Don Greene was third (2,718) and incumbent Irene Aiken (2,467) was fourth. Challenger T.K. Thrower was the first runner-up, finishing fifth in a race for the top four spots with 2,377 votes. Incumbent Pam Easterling was sixth (2,341) and challenger Dewey Brower was seventh (1,648).

Board members will be sworn into office in June. The results won’t become official until the Board of Elections canvasses the results next Tuesday, at which time provisional ballots will be included. Officials said Tuesday night there were not enough provisional ballots to impact the outcome of the elections.

Ormsby, 66, of Rockingham, retired in the fall of 2013 as principal of L.J. Bell Elementary School and brings 37 years of experience in education to the board. Ormsby said during her campaign that being fresh out of administration was going to help teachers and administrators alike to help address issues on a local level — and try to effect change, when possible, with state officials in Raleigh.

Joe Richardson

Joe Richardson

Richardson, 74, of Rockingham, said he’s not afraid to buck the system where necessary and speak his mind even if it seems to go against the grain. Like Ormsby, Richardson has more than three decades of experience inside the local school system as a teacher, assistant principal and assistant superintendent.

When the board recently voted to approve the state’s new law that eliminated career status, or tenure, for teachers, Richardson cast the lone dissenting vote — even though the vote was a mere formality, as the board had no choice but to comply with state law. But Richardson said he wasn’t about to cast a vote in favor of a law he opposes so strongly.

“I’ve stuck to my guns and I don’t like the way some things are done,” Richardson said. “When I have something to say, I go ahead and say it.”

Richardson said the top priority is students, of course, but when a school system has a dissatisfied group of teachers — the Richmond County system has approximately a 17 percent turnover rate — that has an adverse impact on the continuity of students’ education.

“I’m not satisfied with how teachers are being treated in Richmond County,” Richardson said.

Richardson said he spent election night at home with family and campaign supporters — and plenty of pizza.

“When you’ve got the kind of family support that I have, you’re not a loser — whether or not you win the election,” Richardson said.

Greene, 56, of Rockingham, spent 30 years as a teacher before retiring in June of 2013. He said he hopes to be a voice for teachers at the next level — understanding the “difficulties and struggles” teachers now face.

“I’ve experienced everything that teachers are experiencing now,” said the former music teacher at L.J. Bell and Washington Street schools. “I was down in the ditch. When you’re in the ditch doing it every day, you have a totally different perspective than someone that’s just telling you what to do and not doing it themselves. I know what’s working. I know what doesn’t work.”

Greene said it’s disappointing that teachers are “usually the last ones” to be consulted when issues arise yet they are among the school system’s most valuable resources.

Dr. Irene Aiken

Dr. Irene Aiken

Aiken, 48, of Rockingham, is a professor at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke. Teaching tomorrow’s teachers and being one herself today, she brings returns her unique perspective to the board. She’s also the only one of seven candidates to have a child in the school system right now, though she acknowledges other candidates have family members in the system as well.

Aiken said she heard in the days leading up to election day that it’d be a tight race. That wasn’t a sign that voters were unhappy with the status quo, she said, but rather indicative that the field was comprised of qualified candidates.

“Thank goodness we have qualified candidates who are willing to run for school board,” Aiken said. “It can be a thankless job. We subject ourselves to elections, meetings and the phone calls.”

But, Aiken noted, “it’s a very important job” — one that some can feel “a little bit helpless because you are under the constraints and edicts … passed down from the state. But you do what you can with what (you have).”

In the Democratic primary for Clerk of Superior Court, incumbent Vickie Daniel, 57, garnered 65.1 percent of the vote to challenge Peggy Roach’s 34.9 percent. Daniel was appointed to the office on Jan. 2, 2013, by Judge Tanya Wallace when Kathy Gainey retired.

Daniel said all along she had the experience and customer service skills to keep the job. Daniel proved she also had the popularity, evident on election day as members of the “Vickie Daniel Fan Club” were out in full force at every precinct in the county.

Roach, 64, is a Rockingham resident with more than 30 years of experience in the clerk’s office.

Vickie Daniel

Vickie Daniel








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