School Board Elections on November 6th
"The struggle of today, is not altogether for today-it is for a vast future also."
- President Abraham Lincoln
Address to Congress, December 3, 1861
Election Day is finally upon us and, after all the polls and the pundits, editorials and ad buys, what seems like the longest campaign season ever will finally come to an end as we the people cast our ballots and collectively decide the future of this great nation.
There is a lot at stake in this election and your vote is more important than ever.
But while much of our focus for this Tuesday has been on re-electing the President and passing the Transportation Penny, while so much attention has been paid to campaigns for Congress and State Legislature, we must not overlook the election that directly impact our children - School Board.
I firmly believe that world class public education is the key to unlocking our potential as a community. We cannot become a truly world class city without world class schools and, in this age of new information and new technology when everything we know can change in the blink of an eye, we need leaders whose innovation and creativity excite us about the future and the potential for greatness we hold in our hands.
In meeting and talking with a number of our candidates for School Board both in Richland County District One and District Two, I have found a handful of men and women who share our vision for the future and embody our highest traditions of dedication, leadership and service.
I firmly believe that these remarkable individuals will take our schools to the next level and I hope you will consider them as you go to the polls and vote on Tuesday.
Richland One School Board At-Large (Two Seats)
From working with the U.S. State Department to creating life-changing opportunities for new or existing students as Midlands Technical College's Director of Recruitment, Moryah Jackson's her rare combination of talent and passion has led her from one accomplishment to another. But, despite all these lofty achievements, she remains grounded in the spirit of grassroots community service.
For her, it's not just about serving on the Logan Elementary School Improvement Council or creating exciting new apprentice initiatives for the South Carolina Technical College System. It's also about volunteering as a mentor and South Kilbourne Elementary School Lunch Buddy and working one on one with students as a College Summit College Counselor and Writing Coach.
For Moryah it's not about discussions in the board room. It's about students in the classroom. It's about rolling up your sleeves and making a difference and, with your support, she will make a difference for all of us as an At-Large Member of the Richland One School Board.
As a 27 year-old businessman, Antjuan Seawright represents a new generation of leaders stepping forward and doing great for this community.
His strong understanding of how education, jobs and infrastructure work together to impact our community and our future coupled with his record of community involvement and advocacy and his experience working with the State Legislature on a variety of issues gives Antjuan a truly unique perspective.
More importantly, Antjuan believes that, just as we stand on the shoulders of giants from generations past, we must offer our shoulders for those generations yet to come.
I am very proud to support my friend Antjuan Seawright for an at-large seat on the Richland One School Board and I am confident that he will exceed our highest expectations.
Richland One School Board Seat 2
One of the few incumbents on my list, Jamie Devine is one of Columbia's very best and I have long counted him as a loyal supporter, a trusted advisor and a true friend.
Currently serving as Richland One School Board's Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Board's Facilities and Finance Committee, his unshakable faith in and dedication to this community have proven invaluable in his mission to increase student achievement, fiscal responsibility and parental and community involvement within our schools.
But Jamie isn't just a Richland One policy maker. He's also parent. He is a father of two daughters making him uniquely qualified and committed to building the very best schools possible.
I believe we need more parents involved in education. I believe we need more parents working with our schools. I believe we need more parents serving on our School Boards so I am proud to endorse Jamie Devine's Re-Election to Richland One School Board Seat 2.
Richland One School Board Seat 3
Just like Jamie Devine, Beatrice King is more than a Richland One School Board Candidate. She is also a parent.
A working mother three sons attending Brockman Elementary, Crayton Middle School and A.C. Flora High School, her and her husband understand that they are their children's best advocates. That's why, for years, they have remained actively involved in their schools as volunteers.
Whether serving on Richland One's Strategic Planning Committee and School Improvement Council, or working as a reading volunteer and PTO fundraiser, Beatrice has demonstrated time and again that one parent willing to lead by example can truly make a difference.
She is running for Richland One School Board Seat 3 because she believes in our potential. She believes in investing in our future and I am proud to support her.
Richland Two School Board At-Large
Chip Jackson's experience as an educator and administrator is unparalleled.
He served as the State Department of Education's Deputy Superintendent under Superintendents Nielsen and Tenenbaum and currently chairs Clemson University's College of Health, Education, and Human Development Board.
He helped establish guidelines for creating the first Public Charter School Grants in South Carolina and his efforts to promote dropout prevention through Bible Way Church of Atlas Road's "Dream Catchers" afterschool program received statewide recognition from the SC Department of Juvenile Justice.
He is a product of the public school system. His children were Ridge View High School honor graduates, his with is a 15-year veteran Business Education teacher at Ridge View High School and his mother is a retired English teacher from the Columbia Public School system.
In short, his more than 30 years of education has driven Richland Two to greatness in his first term and I look forward to what he can accomplished when he's elected to a second.
Stephen K. Benjamin