Wake County Schools

Goldman leaves school board to head nonprofit foundation

Posted February 3, 2013
Updated February 4, 2013

— Debra Goldman, who resigned over email Friday from her seat on the Wake County Board of Education, is leaving to head a Wilkes County-based foundation working to raise awareness of strokes and how to prevent them.

Speaking to reporters Sunday, Goldman said she will be working full-time as executive director of the Derie Cheek Reece Foundation in Ronda, to expand the nonprofit and help it become a household name.

"I am so excited about this opportunity. I am so excited about moving forward and so passionate about what this foundation is doing and can do," she said.

Started in 2011, the DCR Foundation is named in memory of Derie Cheek Reece, a 33-year-old mother of two and wife, who died May 25, 2010. Reece complained of severe headaches and sickness but was delayed treatment because her symptoms were not identified as signs of stroke.

Goldman met Reece's husband, Kevin Reece, while traveling across the state last year during her campaign for state auditor.

North Carolina, Goldman said, has one of the highest stroke rates in the nation and that the rate among women under 35 is on the rise.

"Experts say that if we don't change lifestyle and choices our youth are making, then those rates will continue to rise," she said. "It's a grim picture for North Carolinians, and it's about time that stroke awareness and prevention became the forefront of the health care industry."

Part of Goldman's duties will be traveling around the state to promote the foundation and working to help educate others in all walks of life about stroke.

"It's a very exciting time for me in my life, and I want to sincerely thank all my constituents and voters and people in Wake County who have supported me," Goldman said.

 Debra Goldman Goldman details new job

Goldman, who represented western Wake County in the school board's District 9, was one of four people elected to the nine-member school board in 2009, creating a Republican majority that implemented controversial changes including an end to the long-standing way the school system assigned students to schools.

Board tenure was not without controversy

While on the school board, Goldman headed a number of committees, including the search committee that ultimately brought state Transportation Secretary Tony Tata to the school district as superintendent, a position he held for just over a year before he was dismissed.

She also served as vice chairwoman twice and , at times, she said, was seen as a "swing voter" when she would vote against party lines on controversial issues, including an October 2010 vote against a Republican-backed student assignment plan.

"Whether people have agreed or disagreed with decisions that I've made, it's been really important that my entire tenure on the school board … that every vote that I have made along the line has been with great thought, great care and a tremendous amount of research," Goldman said. "I have done my best to represent the people of Wake County."

At least one school board member on Friday said Goldman's resignation was "abrupt." But Goldman said leaving for the DCR Foundation had been "in the works" for a few months.

She decided to leave now, instead of finishing out her term, which expires in November, she said, partly because she didn't want to give people the impression that she planned to run again and that the demands of her new job didn't allow for both.

"I would not want to risk that I was doing any type of disservice to the people of Wake County," she said.

Goldman made headlines last fall during her failed bid for state auditor, when a June 2010 police report surfaced that suggested Goldman might have had a romantic relationship with fellow school board member Chris Malone.

Goldman denied the allegations and said the report was somehow leaked to the media to try to derail her campaign against state Auditor Beth Wood.

In September, she again made headlines after she filed a police report accusing another board member of threatening her during heated talks over the board's decision to fire Tata.

Goldman's departure leaves two open seats

Board members, including Chairman Keith Sutton and John Tedesco, were shocked by her decision Friday but both wished her well.

Goldman said she had talked to some board members since Friday and that those conversations had been positive. She would not say with whom she spoke.

Her departure is the second of a Republican board member in recent months.

On Tuesday, the school board expects to interview candidates to succeed Malone, who was elected in November to the state House of Representatives.

Eight people applied for the seat. The appointee will serve until the term expires in November.

Being able to replace two of the four Republicans on the school board could give the Democratic majority a chance to strengthen its control of the divided board.

That's something, Goldman said, that worries her now that she's gone.

"I think it's very important – in fact, I think it's vital – that when there's a vote of the board to replace a missing board member, that the board member who is chosen should have the same mindset as the board member who left – the same leanings, the same views – because that board member, even though they're being replaced by the sitting board, they were elected by the people of that district."

39 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • elcid liked Ike Feb 4, 7:38 p.m.

    I think she'd probably have gone a lot farther in adding value if she'd just been frank and forthright about why she's moving. There really isn't anything bad about it. If she's found a new someone that makes her happy, by all means, I'm happy for her. But when she tries to pull off this "I'm effectively leaving in the middle of the night because I want to help the world" nonsense, it just makes her look dishonest. Truthfully, I'm less inclined to write a check to this org than I otherwise would be, for no other reason than I can't trust the lady who's running the thing.

  • westernwake1 Feb 4, 7:21 p.m.

    "Westernwake - I'm sure that this foundation, such as it is anyway, has noble goals. What it doesn't have, even remotely, is enough money to pay anyone to fill the role that Goldman has agreed to fill.

    Nobody is impugning the foundation's goals or nobility. We're just saying that Goldman, as usual, is trying to spin one thing (her personal life) by hiding it behind something else (this Mother Teresa production number that she's trying to pull off).

    You'd think that she'd be intelligent enough to know that, given her already bizarre history, ... - elcid liked Ike

    I don't disagree with you. The DCR Foundation is a sparsely funded non-profit. The point I have been trying to make is that the DCR Foundation has done some good work over the past two years by having doctors speak to groups of medical professionals about stroke.

    Let's hope that Ms. Goldman adds value to the foundation rather than detracts from its mission.

  • elcid liked Ike Feb 4, 7:09 p.m.

    Westernwake - I'm sure that this foundation, such as it is anyway, has noble goals. What it doesn't have, even remotely, is enough money to pay anyone to fill the role that Goldman has agreed to fill.

    Nobody is impugning the foundation's goals or nobility. We're just saying that Goldman, as usual, is trying to spin one thing (her personal life) by hiding it behind something else (this Mother Teresa production number that she's trying to pull off).

    You'd think that she'd be intelligent enough to know that, given her already bizarre history, people weren't going to take anything she says at face value. when we dug into it, we found that all is not necessarily as advertised.

  • westernwake1 Feb 4, 6:58 p.m.

    "And this group with no medical training and background is going to train nurses etc." - superman

    This group brings in doctors to speak with nurses and EMS specialists at universities and hosptitals. I sure the doctors who volunteered to provide the training would be upset if you informed them they have no medical training or background. The DCR Foundation has arranged for doctors to speak on stroke at most of the coleges and major hospitals in our state over the past two years.

    Go watch the video of a training session:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSySfbAsrp8

  • elcid liked Ike Feb 4, 5:32 p.m.

    Superman - their donations, as far as I can tell from their tax records, amount to less than $10,000 over the entire life of the foundation. It's not much of a foundation.

    As noted, there is more to this story than is being told here. Dig into the addresses for these people ...

  • superman Feb 4, 5:12 p.m.

    You dont need to be able to know what is the medical ailment of a person. You just need to be smart enough to know that they have a medical problem and seek help. The doctors didnt even know what was wrong so how do you figure someone without medical training would know. And this group with no medical training and background is going to train nurses etc. Thats a joke. It is absurd to think you know where the money is coming from. Have you checked their donations. You seem to think you know everything. Get a job.

  • ncteacher22 Feb 4, 4:55 p.m.

    WRAL needs to stop giving this woman any more time. She has used up her 15 minutes of fame.....

  • Raleigh Rocks 1 Feb 4, 4:46 p.m.

    From DCR websight...One of her goals is to encourage and empower today’s youth to make healthier choices ultimately culminating in preventing stroke in their own families.

    I Dont see anything wrong with this. I wish you success

  • elcid liked Ike Feb 4, 4:05 p.m.

    There is more to this story than is being told here ...

  • westernwake1 Feb 4, 3:22 p.m.

    BTW... here is the website for the DCR Foundation.

    http://www.dcrfoundation.org/

More...