Latest school board hopefuls not new to education scene

Feb. 19, 2014 @ 04:59 AM

Two more people threw their hat into the ring Tuesday for the upcoming elections for the Lee County Board of Education, both of whom have previous ties to the board.

Shawn Williams, a former school board chairman, was defeated in his reelection campaign in 2012. Ophelia Livingston, a former trustee of Central Carolina Community College appointed by the school board, was not reappointed last year.

But neither Williams nor Livingston, both of whom are running for the school board as Democrats, said those experiences would keep them down. Williams, in fact, said losing was actually good for him because it gave him some perspective and a much-needed break. But after having served on the board from 2007-12, he said, he just couldn’t stay away.

“It’s all about the children,” Williams said. “I advocate for youth, and I know that education is the key.”

Williams, a former Marine, is now a pastor.

“I’m a high school dropout that went back to school, and I’m now working on a doctorate degree (in theology), so I learned the hard way the importance of education,” he said.

Livingston, who owns Triple J Printing in Sanford, has been involved in education for years — both as a trustee with CCCC and as a member of the education-focused Delta Sigma Theta sorority’s Sandhills Chapter. But this would be her first taste of elected office, and she said she’s interested in helping the school district stay on its current course and work even more efficiently.

“We’re on a roll with education, but we need to do better, working on our policies and making sure we’re getting the best teachers and that the best curriculum is being put forth in our school system,” Livingston said.

She said programs like the Central Carolina Works advising system and the apprenticeship partnership with Caterpillar are great steps in the right direction, and she wants to help the board continue in that direction.