Cary, N.C. — Republican Wake County Board of Education member Debra Goldman resigned her seat Friday to take a job in the northwest part of North Carolina.
Goldman emailed her resignation to Wake County Public School System officials and said she would hold a 1 p.m. Sunday news conference in downtown Raleigh to discuss her next move.
"It is a very exciting time in my life right now. I have accepted a position with a nonprofit and am thrilled about it," Goldman wrote in the email. "Sadly, I will be transitioning out of the Wake County area, and will need to tender my resignation from the Board of Education. It is with a heavy heart that I do this, as I have enjoyed representing my constituents."
Her departure came as a surprise to her school board colleagues.
"It is a bit if a distraction, if you will, because it is not something you saw coming or were able to plan for," said board Co-Chairman Keith Sutton. Still, he wished her the best.
Board member and fellow Republican John Tedesco called Goldman's departure "very abrupt."
“It’s surprising in the manner in which this was handled," Tedesco said. "I wish her well and don’t begrudge her the opportunity to move forward with her life.”
Goldman moved her official residence from Cary to rural Wilkes County last Friday, registering to vote in the town of Ronda, between Elkin and North Wilkesboro, according to State Board of Elections information.
“You must be a registered voter of the jurisdiction to which you are elected in order to hold the office,” said Gary Bartlett, executive director of the state elections board.
Gary Sims, deputy director of the Wake County Board of Elections, said Goldman was removed from local voter rolls on Monday.
Board Co-Chairwoman Christine Kushner said Friday she was unaware of Goldman's plans, although she noted that Goldman didn't attend the last two school board meetings.
Goldman, who unsuccessfully ran last fall for state auditor, told WRAL News in a phone interview from Ronda that she intended to announce her move earlier, and she said she hopes her quick resignation won't take attention away from the school system.
"The board has been fraught with so many changes as of late. The board has had so much to deal with, and I wanted to bring the least amount of distraction as possible," she said.
In the end, the sudden disclosure may help the board move forward. Goldman said, "I think it is better to do it quickly, pull off the Band-Aid and say, 'let's all move forward.'"
Goldman pointed to her status as a single parent as a motivating factor for the move.
"I am looking at a career change here and I need to make sure we are on solid footing," she said.
Her departure leaves a second vacancy on the board. Next week, the school board expects to interview candidates to succeed former member Chris Malone who was elected in November as a Republican representative to the state House.
Eight people applied for the seat. The appointee will serve until the term expires in November.
The term for Goldman's seat, which includes much of Cary, also 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.
Tedesco chose to focus on the work at hand over politics, pointing out key challenges facing the board including the search for a new superintendent, continuing to balance the budget and plan for a growing student body and assuring the district remains eligible for an $8 million grant to fund magnet schools.
"There are some big issues coming up and having the right voices at the table, that is important," he said.