Business leader chosen to be advocate for Franklin County Schools
by Jay Lamm
LOUISBURG — The Franklin County Board of Education has appointed a champion.
Rosemary Champion, a bank executive with Carter Bank and Trust in Louisburg, was appointed to fill the District 7 at-large seat vacated by Dannie Williams.
The unanimous vote came Monday night after the board heard from Champion and four other candidates.
Champion is a founding director with the Franklin County unit of the Boys and Girls Club, active in the Franklin County Homebuilders Association and a resident in the White Level community.
“I am pleased and honored to have been chosen to serve on the board,” Champion said.
“I look forward to the opportunity to make our school system stronger and safer for our children.”
The board members spoke well of all the candidates and gave careful consideration to each, board Chairman Gil Johnson said.
“I am extremely pleased in the amount of interest that was shown in the vacant school board seat. It was a difficult choice for the board to make considering the vast experience and backgrounds of all five of the candidates.
“I congratulate Mrs. Champion on her selection, and I believe her background with local business and industry will be an important asset to the school system,” he said.
Johnson said Champion will be a good voice for local needs to the county and state.
“She will be a strong advocate as we try to garner support to reverse the current trends in state and local funding that don’t seem to value public education as a true priority,” he said.
The board considered delaying a vote on the new board appointment until the Sept. 9 meeting but due to the time frame set for choosing a new superintendent, Johnson felt it was important to appoint the new member to be part of the superintendent search process.
Before the vote, board member Paige Sayles said the board needed diversity and should choose a member of the business community instead of an educator. Sayles gave her support to Champion.
Three of the candidates had education backgrounds.
The other candidates were: Donna Wade William Jackson, James Beard and Thomas Flaherty.
The last three appointed board members — Dr. Bobbie Richardson, Synthia Richardson and Dr. Elizabeth Keith — all had long careers in education. Champion, who applied for an appointment to fill the District 3 board seat, left vacant by Dr. Richardson, lost out to Dr. Keith for that seat earlier in the year.
“Paige is a dear friend, and I appreciate her support,” said Champion after her appointment.
Champion’s appointment is the fifth to the seven-member school board in the last four years. She will be sworn in at the next Board of Education meeting, Sept. 9.