Education

A third Beaufort County school board member is asking voters for a second go-round

Voters congregate outside Community Bible Church on Tuesday on primary election day. Burton Districts 2A and 2B were at the church and poll manger Aremethia Burnes estimated at 1 p.m. they had about 250  votes cast.
Voters congregate outside Community Bible Church on Tuesday on primary election day. Burton Districts 2A and 2B were at the church and poll manger Aremethia Burnes estimated at 1 p.m. they had about 250 votes cast. dmartin@islandpacket.com

A third Beaufort County Board of Education member whose term is soon coming to an end has decided to run for re-election in November.

District 2 board member David Striebinger, who represents parts of Lady’s Island, Beaufort and St. Helena Island, filed for re-election Thursday. Fellow board members Joseph Dunkle and Cynthia Gregory-Smalls are also running for re-election.

Striebinger was elected in October 2016 to fill the District 2 seat vacated by former board chairman Bill Evans.

When Striebinger first ran for the seat, he was outspoken about his frustrations with the board’s dysfunction and the actions of Superintendent Jeff Moss during the district’s nepotism scandal.

Striebinger said he has seen the board make a little progress but that there is still significant room for improvement.

“All of the things I wanted to accomplish when I first ran, I believe we can accomplish,” he said in a recent interview. “I think a lot of the obstacles will not be there going forward.”

Striebinger will face off against longtime Lady’s Island resident Terry Thomas, who ran for school board as a write-in candidate in 2014 but lost to Evans.

Thomas, 76, moved to Lady’s Island about 20 years ago. He has served as a substitute teacher in Beaufort County schools and an assistant football coach at Beaufort High School for about six years, he said.

Striebinger, David
David Striebinger Submitted

Striebinger said he would like to see board members focus on their three primary responsibilities — managing the superintendent, setting up policies and offering financial oversight.

With more than 30 years of experience in contract development and financial and compliance management, Striebinger said he brings a “business orientation to the board” that he is not sure would be there otherwise.

He is also the former treasurer of the Disabilities Foundation of Beaufort County and serves on the boards of the Lady’s Island Business Professionals Association and LOVE for Therapeutic Riding.

During his time on the board, Striebinger has sided with the board’s five-member minority on most issues but has not let that dictate all of his votes.

“I try hard to be reasonable and logic-driven and to evaluate each issue on its own merit,” he said.

In July 2017, Striebinger was elected as board secretary for a term that was supposed to last until January 2019. But about a week after the unprecedented scale of rejection of the district’s $76 million referendum in April, Striebinger voluntarily stepped down from the role.

“I think the public was telling us a dramatic change had to happen, so I thought we should all resign — all the officers,” Striebinger said. The other two officers — Geri Kinton and Earl Campbell — kept their posts.

Striebinger lives on St. Helena Island with his wife, Jill, and his son.

Who else has filed?

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

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. Board member Geri Kinton said she will not run for re-election.

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

District 7: Hilton Head native Rachel Wisnefski recently announced she is running for the seat. 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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