A write-in candidate who won the Beaufort County Board of Education District 10 seat said Wednesday he's interested in becoming the board's next chairman during a spirited discussion with another incoming board member.
Although they generally avoided controversial subjects during an informal lunch Tuesday, two of the seven board members-elect disagreed on whether they should even be discussing the chairmanship.
"I think any discussions regarding the chairmanship is inappropriate in front of the press without the rest of the entire board," said District 6 winner Paul Roth, alluding to the four new and returning board members not present at the gathering at the University of South Carolina Beaufort's Hilton Head Gateway Campus.
Mike Sanz, a former teacher who won a Hilton Head Island seat with fewer than 400 write-in votes, responded that the group was just having a "general discussion."
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"No, it's not a general discussion, Mike. The press is here," Roth shot back.
"Right, and the press should be here at all times," Sanz said.
"No, they shouldn't," Roth said.
At that point, Sanz announced his interest in seeking the chairmanship: "As a matter of fact, I will say right now that I am ... interested in being the chair."
The board will pick a new chairman in January to replace Fred Washington Jr., who lost Nov. 6 in a three-way race.
Discussions then turned to other matters during the 2 1/2 -hour meeting. The talks touched briefly on the superintendent search and the board's role in managing the district. But mostly, the newly elected members introduced themselves and shared their backgrounds and anecdotes that shaped their goals and expectations for the board.
District 4 winner Jim Beckert, for example, said he wants to examine current board and district processes and "remove hurdles" that can impede teachers.
Although the members have different backgrounds and experiences, they mostly agreed digital learning tools are valuable and that more parents need to be engaged in their children's progress.
"I think a lot of parents want to do better, but they don't know how," District 7 winner Evva Anderson said.
Roth cautioned fellow incoming members about dealing with the news media. He urged them not to "go public" before they had a chance to "consult with the team."
The newly elected members will gather again Friday for a two-day school board retreat and orientation. They will be sworn in Jan. 2.