Correction: This story was corrected June 21 to reflect that board member Patricia Felton-Montgomery is the second chairperson in less than two years to resign. Board member Mary Cordray did not resign. The meeting date at which a new chairperson will be elected has also been updated. The district’s calendar indicated the meeting would take place July 11; the board moved the meeting to July 18.
Six months after being sworn in to the Beaufort County Board of Education and immediately installed as its chairwoman, board member Patricia Felton-Montgomery resigned from her four-year term via letter at the Tuesday night board meeting, citing medical reasons for her departure.
Felton-Montgomery, who was not at the meeting, submitted a letter to the board’s officers, which was read aloud by board secretary Geri Kinton:
“New and unexpected medical reasons cause me to have to submit my resignation, both as chair and the representative of District 6, effective June 20, 2017,” the 70-year-old wrote. “As members of the board know, I have been ill for several months now and find, as I look ahead, that given my health issues, I cannot fulfill my duties as a Board member in the kind of high quality that my constituents and the entire district deserve.”
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Felton-Montgomery’s district covers Okatie and Sun City Hilton Head. Since mid-April, Felton-Montgomery has missed three out of the four scheduled board meetings but had perfect attendance prior to that.
Attempts to reach Felton-Montgomery Wednesday were unsuccessful.
She is the third board chairperson to leave the position in less than two years.
Former board member Bill Evans resigned in October 2015, less than a month after public outcry followed Superintendent Jeff Moss’ involvement in hiring his wife for a $90,000-a-year, district position. Board member Mary Cordray took Evans’ position and finished out the term. In January 2017, at the end of her chairmanship term, she said she no longer wished to continue in the role but remains a board member.
Felton-Montgomery ran a campaign platform centered on transparency and change. As a former superintendent of a small New Jersey school system, she brought an educator’s perspective to the board.
The board will vote on a new chairperson at its July 18 meeting, district spokesman Jim Foster said.
A state law mandates school board elections take place on the Tuesday 17 weeks after a vacancy occurs. This means the District 6 seat will be up for election on Oct. 17, said Marie Smalls, director of the Board of Voter Registration and Elections of Beaufort County.