Jackson County elects new school board members


During this election cycle, 10 candidates ran for three seats on the Jackson County Schools Board of Education. Of these, Lisa Buchanan, Kim Moore and Lynn Dillard came out on top and will join the board in July. Although this is a non-partisan race, it is decided in the primary election.

Council chairman Ally Laird-Large was not seeking re-election and will leave the council alongside Margaret McRae, who also did not seek re-election. Abigail Clayton currently represents District Two. She was seeking re-election but was defeated by Lisa Buchanan and will leave the board in July.

Lisa Buchanan won the race to represent District Two, which covers the North Sylva Ward, as well as Scotts Creek. She beat two opponents for the seat, Courtney Umphlett and Clayton.

Buchanan is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Business Literature and Paralegal Specialist for HomeTrust Bank. Its priorities include transparency, teacher support, academic excellence and safety.

“My number one commitment is to open communication,” Buchanan said. “So many people have approached me and expressed concern that they have no communication, that they can’t approach the school board, the administrators, to ask questions and not get answers. I think there is an underlying lack of trust. And of course, there are a lot of burning questions right now, in terms of curriculum, an appropriate curriculum for elementary age and that sort of thing.

Buchanan won 2,865 votes, or 43% of the votes. Her next closest opponent, Abigail Clayton, won 2,463 votes or 37% of the vote.

“I was absolutely thrilled and humbled by the confidence of my constituents,” Buchanan said. “I am thrilled to be able to move forward and start working for our children. I want to bring everyone together so that we work as a team and not as adversaries.

Kim Moore won the race for District 5, which covers Cullowhee, Caney Fork, River and Canada. Moore is the owner of “Moore Joy in Family”, a local business. She and her husband have been married for 24 years and raised and educated five children. According to Moore, they proudly used private school, high school, public school, and homeschooling to educate their children, one of whom graduated from Smoky Mountain High School.

His priorities for the board include academic excellence and freeing teachers from unnecessary bureaucracy.

“Teachers need to have the freedom in the classroom to use their training and expertise to creatively educate students,” Moore says.

Moore won 53% of the vote for District Four, or 3,521 votes. Just behind her, Wesley McKnight won 29% of the vote, or 1,940 votes.

“I believe we are in serious need of education reform that includes, but is not limited to, prioritizing academic excellence and freeing teachers from unnecessary bureaucracy,” she said. .

Lynn Dillard won the race for the District 5 school board, which covers the Cashiers, Hamburg and Mountain districts.

“I’m extraordinarily honored and happy,” Dillard said after her victory.

Dillard is a retired educator who holds a doctorate in instructional leadership with concentrations in curriculum and measurement and a master of arts in teaching. Her priority is to help the superintendent creatively re-engage students who have lost interest in traditional curriculum delivery or students who are learning differently. She also advocates for early literacy and the possibility of including career courses in Early College.

Dillard said her experience sets her apart from her competition.

“[Voters] chose me for my experience in Jackson County schools, helping so many students who have different abilities, being a principal, and serving at the Blue Ridge School Education Foundation.

Dillard won 38% of the vote for District Five, or 3,521 votes. Joy Rose, Dillard’s closest competitor, won 26% of the vote, or 1,730 votes.

“I will assist the superintendent in re-engaging all lost learners in Jackson County,” Dillard said. “We have a lot of kids who just don’t want to go to school, who aren’t interested. It doesn’t serve them well for what they plan to do in their lifetime. This is a primary goal for us and improving early literacy is an important goal.

According to Jackson County School Board policy, the school board will elect a chairperson and vice-chairperson to serve two-year terms, or until their successor is elected and qualified by swearing in. An organizational meeting for the election and qualification of officers will take place during the regular meeting of the Board of Directors in July.


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