Two ousted with much left to do

Granville school board incumbents fall to challengers after controversy
May. 08, 2014 @ 07:21 PM

OXFORD — Granville County’s school board will go through the next seven months with several projects to complete and two members who were defeated in Tuesday’s primary.

New members won’t be taking their seats until December. Publicly, board members and the school system superintendent said the upcoming changes wouldn’t have significant impact.

“I don’t think the election is going to change things that much,” said Leonard Peace, a longtime board member who was not in the primary. “We’ll have the same board until December. At that point, I think we’ll head down the same path we’ve been heading.”

But there’s a great deal of water to pass under the bridge.

Brenda Dickerson-Daniel, chairwoman of the board, lost to Tom Houlihan. Catherine “Rose” Lyon lost to Danny Eudy. Toney Smith was an unopposed winner on Tuesday.

Houlihan is an educator with a resume that includes tenures as superintendent of Granville County Schools, North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction and executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The loss of Dickerson-Daniel and Lyon leaves the board with just one female member.

“They’ll be losing the woman’s perspective on things,” Lyon said.

She also said there’s a great deal of unfinished business, including teachers getting raises and the completion of Granville Central.

Not mentioned in the aftermath of the primary were the contentious debates that preceded it.

Between February and March:

• One school board member accused other board members of meeting in violation of the state’s open meetings law.

• That same member described a recent request for auditing an entire process of compensation to school district personnel as a “political stunt.”

• The school board, in a specially called meeting, approved a third-party probe of policies, processes and actions regarding compensation in the school district.

• Dickerson-Daniel stepped down from presiding at a meeting to address accusations of improprieties.

• And Tim Farley, the superintendent, told the board legal action — “consequences,” he said — would come should his character or integrity suffer as a result of collateral damage from the board’s activities.

Peace said he is hopeful for the impact Houlihan’s experience can bring to the board.

Farley offered nothing but praise for the service of Lyon and Dickerson-Daniel.

“I’d like to thank the two current board members,” he said. “I’ve worked with them for seven years, and they’ve always looked after the welfare of our children.

“As for the impact of the new board members. I’m sure we’ll be doing the things we’ve been doing.”

Lyon said she thinks the controversy had little or no influence on the election results.

“Not at our end of the county,” she said.

Multiple attempts over two days to contact Dickerson-Daniel for comments in this story were not successful.

 

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.