Education

A second Beaufort County school board member announces run for re-election

With two months remaining until the filing deadline, a second Beaufort County Board of Education member announced he will run for re-election in November.

District 4 representative Joseph Dunkle, whose district consists of Port Royal, Shell Point and part of Parris Island, announced his decision Tuesday, but has not formally filed yet.

As a member of the board for the past four years, Dunkle said he has prided himself on staying true to his word and true to the rules and policies that govern the board. While he has served as a bridge for the split 11-member board at times, Dunkle has not shied away from voicing his opinions.

"I stand by my principles and by what the constituents of District 4 want," Dunkle said. "I don't think there's anything wrong with having a split board or a board that butts heads at times. I think that's part of the democratic way."

District 3 representative Cynthia Gregory-Smalls filed for re-election in March.

Dunkle and Smalls are among the seven board members whose seats are up for grabs in November.

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Joseph Dunkle Submitted

In 2014, Dunkle became the youngest member elected to the board in at least 20 years.

Dunkle has voted with minority board members more than he has with majority members, who align themselves with Superintendent Jeff Moss. Although he has stayed out of the spotlight for the most part, Dunkle has not been immune to the split board's contention.

During a November closed-door meeting, Dunkle called the police in response to a perceived threat by majority member Gregory-Smalls. Gregory-Smalls did not return calls for comment about the incident from The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette, but told Bluffton Today, "There was no threat. I don’t know why he called them, but that’s all I have to say."

Dunkle, a senior firefighter for the Savannah River Site, grew up in Port Royal and lives in the Shell Point area. He has two daughters who both go to school within the district.

He said that with a new interim superintendent and a handful of new senior administrators next year, it will be "an exciting time" to be on the board.

Five of the board’s six-person majority are up for re-election — District 3’s Gregory-Smalls, District 5’s Geri Kinton, District 7’s Evva Anderson, District 8’s Mary Cordray and District 10’s Bill Payne.

Two seats currently held by the board’s five-member minority bloc also will be open in November — District 2’s David Striebinger and District 4’s Dunkle.

Those interested in running for school board have until noon Aug. 15 to file for candidacy. The election is Nov. 6.

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