Two incumbents and one newcomer were elected to the Cumberland County Board of Education on Tuesday, according to unofficial results.
Three current members were seeking reelection but faced a challenge from five political newcomers.
School board members Greg West and Judy Musgrave and Jacquelyn Brown were the top vote-getters, according to unofficial returns.
West led all candidates with 33,570 votes. Musgrave placed second with 31,237 votes, and Brown took the final spot with 30,430.
Charles McKeller – the other incumbent seeking reelection – placed fifth in the voting with 22,570 votes and lost his bid for a second term.
Others running for the seats were Carol Stubbs (24,740), Julissa Jumper (22,352), John Ornelas (14,347) and Nyrell Melvin (13,028).
West has been on the board since 2002. This will mark his sixth term of office. West, who is a 56-year-old general contractor, is the current chairman of the board.
“The community, from what I heard,” West said Wednesday, “appreciated the work we’ve done from the pandemic and coming out of that and, I guess, appreciated my leadership and wanted me to continue serving.”
Musgrave will now enter a third term on the board. She has served for eight years.
Musgrave, who is 74, has spent more than 40 years in education.
She said she never took it for granted that she would be reelected. She said the fact that she knows so many people in the community and her familiarity could only be an asset.
“I think that made a difference. It’s been a rough term,” she said. “I didn’t have a chance to go out politicking. I let others do that for me.”
Over this latest term on the board, Musgrave said, she lost her husband, Jasper Musgrave, and a sister, Loretta Cotton.
Brown, the newcomer, is 64 and a retired educator with 30 years with Cumberland County Schools. This is her first elected office.
She is a Robeson County native but has lived most of her life in Hope Mills.
Before retiring from South View Middle School this year, Brown worked at Ed. V. Baldwin Elementary School and Rockfish Elementary School, both in Hope Mills.
Brown said she decided to run for office after her retirement as an administrative assistant.
"I saw things I didn't like," she said. "Things weren't being heard. They were falling on deaf ears. After I retired, I was told, 'Why don't you run? Why don't you run?' I am here to bring your issues to the board. Whether the issue is pay, whether your issue is the way you're treated, people just want to be heard."
As for her goals as a board member, she said: "I just want to be that voice and putting that voice out there for all the teachers, bus drivers and parents. The main thing is getting those scores up. I think we need to bring every child who is not on track back on track. We need to have home economics. We need to have shop. We need to get back to the day where we're teaching them some skills.
"We need a community all working together," Brown said. "Everybody needs to feel they are an asset to the community. We're just pushing them out doing stuff they can't do anything with it. We can turn these kids around because that's our future."
Michael Futch covers Fayetteville and education for CityView. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.