Hill, Sutton take reins as new Wake school board convenes
Posted December 6, 2011
Cary, N.C. — Three newly elected Wake County school board members were sworn in to office Tuesday afternoon, shifting the balance of power on the board to a 5-4 Democratic-backed majority.
Their first order of business was to choose new leaders, voting in Kevin Hill and Keith Sutton, who both won re-election in October, as board chairman and vice chair. Susan Evans, Christine Kushner and Jim Martin took their seats at the board table for the first time.
Hill previously served as board chairman before he was replaced in 2009 by Ron Margiotta, who lost his re-election bid in October to Evans.
"I am looking forward to working with all eight other board members to move us along," Hill said.
Sutton replaces John Tedesco, who was appointed by his colleagues to the vice chair post in June.
Debra Goldman preceded him.
In October, Hill and Sutton were the only school board members to vote against a student assignment plan proposed by Superintendent Tony Tata that prioritizes proximity and parental choice and does away with a decade-long policy of busing to achieve socioeconomic diversity.
Despite their opposition to the proposal, which passed by a 7-2 vote, the new board majority pledged to make no immediate, drastic changes.
"Democracy is about hard work, listening to everyone (and) doing the work before making the decisions," Martin said.
"Bringing us together, as a board of nine, I think, is going to be important delving into the work," she said.
Tedesco said that action can bring the board together, even though the 5-4 majority has switched from Republican to Democratic.
"We are welcoming a new opportunity to move forward," he said. "We will see."
As new members took their seats, former chairman Margiotta said goodbye. He introduced Evans, exchanged some hugs with colleagues and then headed out the door. It was an emotional moment, Tedesco said.
"We are a little bit sad to lose some friends and colleagues," he said.