The Horry County Board of Education is once again whole.
The board appointed Kathy Richardson to serve District 4 for the next seven months until the seat is up for election. It was left vacant when Kay Loftus, longtime member, died in February.
Richardson was appointed by an 8-1 vote Monday during the board’s regular meeting. Three candidates were interviewed during the four-hour long meeting, and the board met in closed session to discuss the candidate interviews. David Cox, District 9 representative, abstained from the vote because he’s running for the District 4 seat.
“It’s a big honor, especially since I was nervous,” Richardson said. “I’m looking forward to learning everything I can.”
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Richardson has two sons in Horry County schools – one at River Oaks Elementary and the other at Ocean Bay Middle – and works as executive sssistant to the CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.
She’s the best fit for the board because of her knowledge of the issues and desire to be a good steward of public money, said board member Sherrie Todd. Her flexible schedule and willingness to attend all meetings were also key to getting the seat, Todd added.
“You have to be flexible to do this job – there’s so many meetings people don’t know about,” she said. “I think she’ll do a really great job.”
Loftus served on the board for 14 years and was known for her dedication to student learning and longterm knowledge of Horry County Schools. She died at age 66.
Loftus’ term was set to expire in December. Unlike other boards, vacancies on the board of education are filled by appointment by the board until the next election, according to staff attorney Kenneth Generette.
Anyone who resides in District 4 could apply for the position, Generette said. District 4 includes St. James, Socastee, Myrtle Beach and areas of Carolina Forest. Board policy dictates the seat must be filled within three months of a vacancy, so officials had to appoint someone by Sunday.
Richardson will serve until January, when a new member is elected.
“There’s so much to learn, so I’m going to hit the ground running,” Richardson said.
Four people have filed to run for the District 4 seat. Three Republicans will face off in a primary election June 14 and face Democratic candidate Catherine Cameron in the November general election. Candidates who have filed for election could not apply for the temporary seat, Generette said.
Claire Byun: 843-626-0381, @Claire_TSN