4 file for school board election

Jul. 15, 2014 @ 04:02 PM

Three incumbents and one former school board member filed Monday, the start of candidate filing, for this fall’s election for four seats on the Caldwell County Board of Education.

Dottie Darsie, Duane Knight and Joe Sims have filed for re-election. Teresa Branch is also trying to return to the board, although she did not serve this past year.

Darsie, 69, is a retired nurse who was first elected to the school board in 1994.

“I believe that providing our young people with the opportunity for a good education, to prepare them for whatever the future holds isprobably one of the most important things that I can help do,” Darsie said. “During the time that I’ve been on our local board, I think our board has done a very good job of working together, of achieving consensus and, because of, I think our school system has made really great strides. I would just like to continue to work with the current board and administration and teachers and staff to keep moving our system forward and giving our young people the best opportunity we can.”

Knight, 60, was first appointed to the school board in 2011 and elected in 2012. He owned a furniture store in Lenoir for 23 years and a restaurant for nine years before retiring. He has also worked with the Education Foundation Inc. of Caldwell County.

“I think we’ve done a lot of good things,” Knight said. “Next up, we’re going to start on Granite Falls Middle (School), and I’d like to see that project done. I’m an advocate for children, especially for children in Caldwell County.”

Sims, 53, said in a press release that he plans to use his “business experience and my love for this county to the board.”

“My mission is, an will continue to be, to make sure that all our children get the best education and that our school staff have the level of support needed for success,” Sims said. “That’s the kind of school system this county expects and deserves.”

Branch, 54, the executive director of Smart Start of Caldwell County, was elected to the board in 2010 and left the board in November 2012 to take a position as director of exceptional children’s programs. Last September, she started working at Smart Start.

“I just hope to use my experience as a lifelong Caldwell County resident, as a parent, as an educator, as a teacher in the classroom, as a principal to a school, to district administration to help be a guiding part of Caldwell County Schools,” Branch said. “I think because I have walked in those shoes. . . I have a keen understanding of the workings of the school system and can ask the tough questions of ‘Why’ and ‘Why not.’”

Branch’s husband, Jeff, is a member of the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners.