Seven of the Beaufort County Board of Education’s 11 seats are up for grabs in November — and a current board member has already filed for re-election.
District 3 representative Cynthia Gregory-Smalls filed for re-election Friday, about five months before the filing deadline for candidacy.
"I’m an academician and this is my passion," she said Monday, noting she had spent more than 32 years in the school system. Ten of those years were spent as an assistant principal at St. Helena Island Elementary School.
District 3 comprises Lady’s Island, St. Helena Island and parts of Beaufort.
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The retired educator was installed onto the board last April, filling the seat vacated by Michael Rivers after he was elected to the S.C. House of Representatives in November 2016.
Asked about her accomplishments in the year she's served on the board, Gregory-Smalls said, "What I’m most proud of is I keep the students first. They’re always front and center in any decisions that I make."
Gregory-Smalls has typically voted with the majority of board members, who align themselves with superintendent Jeff Moss.
A member of the board's minority, Joseph Dunkle, called the cops in response to a perceived threat by Gregory-Smalls during a November closed-door meeting. 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."
She said her campaign platform remains the same as it did when she ran about a year ago: increasing the graduation rate, closing the achievement gap between white and minority students, assisting youth in navigating their future and improving career pathways for better employment outcomes.
"I want to be proactive for the students and my constituents and I want to support the teachers and administrators of the Beaufort County School District," she said.
Those interested in running for school board have until Aug. 15 at noon to file for candidacy. The election is Nov. 6.