COLUMBUS COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – The school year is over for Columbus County students, but that didn’t stop parents and community members from showing up in numbers to the district’s school board meeting on Monday night.
Members of the Columbus County NAACP and concerned parents showed up to the meeting to voice their concerns on recent moves made by administrators and board members. At their last meeting, they voted to move around 19 administrative positions within the district.
“Some of us found out from people who knew that it was happening, but it hit the newspaper,” said Chair of the Education Committee of the NAACP Columbus County Chapter Dr. Timothy Lance. “And the headline news says Columbus County Schools move 19 administrators. And that’s when people start saying, oh, wait a minute, what happened here? “
One principal, Mr. Michael Powell, has worked at Chadbourn Elementary School for years. The other, Ms. Georgia Spaudling, is a former principal of the year at Evergreen Elementary. Both individuals are African American.
Both of these administrators were demoted to assistant principals at their newly assigned schools, as theirs are closing to allow new ones to open.
A large group showed up to advocate for the two at Monday night’s meeting at South Columbus High School. Their main concerns were stemmed around not having enough diversity in the district. Many people stood in front of the board asking them to rethink their decisions.
“We’re not going to continue to be quiet,” says Dr. Lance. “Number two, we want those principals to remain as principals. And if they do not, then we’re gonna continue to make our voices heard, we’re gonna continue to rally together.”
The two principals weren’t the only administrators moved. Superintendent of Columbus County Schools Dr. Deanne Meadows told WECT that the personnel moves were made only because of the new school openings, and that they did what was in the best interest of the district.
“It’s just it’s a work in progress all the time,” she says. “I do hear what they’re saying. But at the same time, I do have to make the decisions I feel are best for the school and so does the board.”
She says the board would continue to look into ways to address the group’s concerns, but didn’t specify what that might include.
Dr. Lance says if changes aren’t made, his group will keep coming to board meetings to make sure their concerns on diversity are being heard.
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