Bill Payne wins vacant Beaufort County school board seat

sbowman@beaufortgazette.comOctober 15, 2013 

Bill Payne Jr.

PROVIDED PHOTO

Retired educator and administrator Bill Payne Jr. will represent Hilton Head Island on the Beaufort County Board of Education.

Payne was the only person to file for the District 10 seat, left vacant after Mike Sanz resigned in August.

Because no write-in challenger emerged by the deadline at 5 p.m. Tuesday, the Beaufort County Board of Voter Registration and Elections will meet at 10 a.m. Friday at the elections office at 15 John Galt Road in Beaufort to certify Payne's win.

By law, Payne won the seat by default because he was the only candidate to meet filing deadlines. The initial filing period, which required candidates to submit a petition with 215 signatures from registered voters in the district, ended at noon Oct. 1.

Payne submitted 626 signatures, said Marie Smalls, county elections director.

"I'm ready to fill the position," Payne said. "It's something I've been preparing for. I'm ready to go to work and serve my community."

Payne spent 43 years in education and has been to several recent board meetings to stay informed of its recent discussions and decisions.

He joined the Beaufort County School District in 2002 and worked as an assistant principal at Hilton Head Island Middle School and Battery Creek and Hilton Head Island high schools, he said.

Payne also spent two years as principal at Whale Branch Middle School before retiring in 2008.

"I know being a member of the school board is going to be a challenge," Payne said, acknowledging he joins during a busy time of discussion about attendance zones and curriculum. "But I feel very comfortable, and I'm up for the challenge."

Board chairman Bill Evans congratulated Payne at Tuesday night's board meeting. Evans said Payne will be sworn in at the board's Nov. 5 meeting.

Follow reporter Sarah Bowman at twitter.com/IPBG_Sarah.

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