Education

Longtime St. Helena resident and businessman files for Beaufort Co. school board seat

A St. Helena Island businessman who narrowly lost his bid for a seat on the Beaufort County Board of Education once before has decided to try again in November’s election.

William Smith, 33, filed his paperwork Tuesday to run in the Nov. 6 election for the District 3 seat.

District 3, which comprises Lady’s Island, St. Helena Island and parts of Beaufort, is represented by retired educator Cynthia Gregory-Smalls.

Smalls filed for re-election in March, about five months before the filing deadline.

This is not the first time Smith and Smalls have faced off against each other in a school board race. In March 2017, Smalls beat Smith in a special election for the board’s District 3 seat by only three votes.

“I’ve had several people who have asked me to run again,” Smith said. “And I feel strongly that Mrs. Smalls has not lived up to her campaign promise of representing our community.”

He also said he felt that Smalls acted as a “rubber stamp for the Moss majority.”

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William Smith

Smith was born and raised on St. Helena and identifies himself as a community activist. He also owns the protective security company Smith Security LLC, he said.

If elected, he said wants to focus on bridging the achievement gap among students and improving the board’s transparency with the public.

Smith said he wants to make sure “the people understand what’s going on in the (school) district and the district understands the people.”

“The focus needs to be brought back to the students. That’s why we’re here and that’s what will help move this district forward in the future,” Smith said.

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. Local business owner William Smith filed in July.

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 — filed to run in March. Sarah Stuchell, a licensed marriage and family therapist, filed in July. 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 Chris Davey, parts and service manager at Grainger Nissan of Beaufort, filed to run in July. Board member Evva Anderson said she has not decided whether she will run for re-election.

District 8: Former educator John Eddy announced he would run in July. Board member Mary Cordray said she has not decided whether 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 whether 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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