Horry County school board members interviewed all seven candidates who applied to fill the District 7 seat during a special work session Monday night.
The seat became vacant in July with the death of board member Paul Hudson. Candidates vying for the spot are Gerald Ballen, Amanda Singleton Crosland, Marie Gainey Floyd, Janet P. Graham, Robert P. Hucks II, Jimmy Dean Rabon and Janet Keith Thompson. District 7 represents portions of Carolina Forest and Conway.
The school board will vote on the new member at its Sept. 24 meeting, which is open to the public and will be held at the district office, 335 Four Mile Road in Conway.
Four of those interviewed Monday have prior experience with Horry County Schools. Ballen, a paralegal with the Horry County Public Defender’s Office, taught three years at Loris Middle School, while Crosland and Floyd are retired educators from the school district. Thompson is a counselor with Horry-Georgetown Technical College who has regular interaction with district schools and administration.
The others are from the business community and include Graham area manager of the Myrtle Beach Area Small Business Development Center, who spent 15 years in banking and has taught at Coastal Carolina University; Hucks, a banker with Coastal Carolina National Bank; and Rabon an engineer and supervisor with Santee Cooper.
Each candidate was asked seven questions by the board members, and those dealt with topics such as why they want to serve, how they see the role of the board and the superintendent, their strategies for a balanced budget and what they believe are the top three issues facing the schools.
Many of the candidates talked about the importance of education, involving the community and giving all students the opportunity to learn, but some answers were more specific than others, especially when talking money.
The school board is choosing its next member because the window of time that would have allowed for candidates to expired, and by selecting its new member the board can fill the seat until the next election, which will be in 2014.
Board Chairman Will Garland said districts were redrawn based on the 2010 census, and while all seven candidates live in the old district, Floyd and Graham do not live in the new district. He said according to the S.C. State Election Commission, the new district will take effect for the next election cycle. Since this is not in an election cycle, those candidates are eligible to fill the seat for the remainder of the term. If one of them is appointed to the seat, however, they would not be eligible to run in 2014.
Contact VICKI GROOMS at 443-2401 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_VickiGrooms.