When John Tedesco spoke at a recent Wake County school board meeting about his decision not to seek re-election, a school system staffer snickered, and muttered with no small hint of derision, “Mm-hmm.”
That verbal slip wasn’t accompanied by an eye roll, but that was probably only because he was on camera.
Meanwhile, on Tedesco’s public Facebook page, supporter Judy Hadley wrote enthusiastically after his announcement: “Thank you, John, for your dedicated service to Wake County schools and your dogged determination to get things right!”
Like him or not, it’s apparent that Tedesco, who announced in July that he will not be running for a second term in the District 2 seat, inspired strong feelings in people from all sides. And that was often done just by his presence on the board – which was passionate, but also prone to combativeness and overexposure.
During a recent interview with the Raleigh Public Record, Tedesco reflected upon his work, talked about what he would have done differently and what he considers the biggest accomplishment of his term.
In hindsight, Tedesco said, he realizes now that some of his actions could have used a softer approach.
In 2009, Tedesco was part of the Republican majority elected to the board that voted to do away with the decade-old income-based reassignment plan at its very first meeting. The move set off alarms within a number of communities, in particular the North Carolina NAACP.
“I had to learn to be more empathetic and understanding. We probably could’ve benefitted better in 2009 from doing it more slowly and deliberately,” Tedesco said.