Education

Bluffton father files for a Beaufort County school board seat

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. tdominick@thestate.com

After monitoring the Beaufort County Board of Education for many years, concerned father Chris Davey has recently filed for a board seat representing the Bluffton area.

Davey, 52, filed Wednesday to run for the board’s District 7 seat, which includes the Rose Hill, Island West and Hampton Lake neighborhoods in the greater Bluffton and Okatie areas.

Davey is the parts and service manager at Grainger Nissan of Beaufort and has lived in the Bluffton area with his family for the past 12 years. His daughter and son attended district schools.

He said he has attended school board meetings as a “concerned parent” on and off for the last 10 years and more regularly over the last year.

“I think what is going on right now is that some of the board members are coming to the meetings with their opinions already formulated,” he said. “... I would be going in there without an agenda and trying to listen to all the facts before formulating my opinion.”

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Chris Davey

In 2013, Davey was a member of the Bluffton Community Committee, which was tasked with examining short-term options to manage crowding in Bluffton schools. He also serves as a member on the advisory board for the automotive program at the Beaufort-Jasper Academy for Career Excellence.

Davey said that if elected, he would concentrate on addressing Bluffton’s overcrowding and expanding the district’s career and technical education programs.

“The overcrowding issue in Bluffton was what really sparked me attending the meetings,” he said. “But then learning about the different issues going on throughout the county got me more and more involved.”

Davey said he plans to go door-to-door to meet with citizens in District 7 and hear what they hope to see from their board representative.

Davey will face off against Rachel Wisnefski, a Hilton Head native who grew up in the Beaufort County School District.

Wisnefski works as an adjunct professor at Park University in Beaufort and a consultant for an international online language program for kindergarten through sixth-grade students, according to her resume.

District 7 is represented by majority board member Evva Anderson, who says she has not yet decided if she will run again. Anderson ran as a write-in candidate in 2012 and was uncontested in 2014.

Who else has filed?

Seven of the board’s 11 seats are up for grabs in the November election. As of Friday:

District 1: Seat held by board member Earl Campbell is up for election in 2020.

District 2: Longtime Lady’s Island resident Terry Thomas filed in April. Board member David Striebinger filed for re-election in July.

District 3: Board member Cynthia Gregory-Smalls filed for re-election in March. No one else has filed.

District 4: Board member Joseph Dunkle filed for re-election in July. No else has filed.

District 5: Two retired military men — Richard Geier and Ray Johnson — have filed to run. The seat is held by board member Geri Kinton, who said she plans to vacate when her term ends.

District 6: Seat held by board member John Dowling is up for election in 2020.

District 7: Hilton Head native Rachel Wisnefski and Bluffton father Chris Davey announced they are running for the seat this week. Board member Evva Anderson said she has not decided if she will run for re-election.

District 8: No one has filed. Board member Mary Cordray said she has not decided if she will run again.

District 9: Seat held by board member Christina Gwozdz is up for election in 2020.

District 10: Peter Kristian, the manager of Hilton Head Plantation, filed for the seat in late June. Board member Bill Payne said he has not decided if he will run again.

District 11: Seat held by board member JoAnn Orischak is up for election in 2020.

Those interested in running for school board have until noon Aug. 15 to file for candidacy.

To find which board district represents you, visit https://bit.ly/2FyQiNW.

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