Wake County Schools

Wake Democrats, educators endorse school board candidates

Posted August 31, 2011 6:50 p.m. EDT

— The Wake County Democratic Party and the Wake chapter of the North Carolina Association of Educators are speaking out on this fall's school board race.

Both groups announced this week that they are endorsing two incumbents – Kevin Hill and Keith Sutton – one challenger – Susan Evans – and two newcomers running for open seats – Jim Martin and Christine Kushner.

"The five candidates that we have endorsed exemplify everything that Wake County citizens deserve on our school board," the Wake Democratic Party said in a statement posted on its website Tuesday. "They are experienced, they are consensus builders and they will bring true stability to Wake County schools."

The North Carolina Association of Educators announced its endorsements Wednesday.

"Our recommended candidates will clearly put students and families first and return the focus of the school board back where it belongs – the students of Wake County public schools," NCAE's Wake chapter vice president, Larry Nilles, said in a statement.

Fourteen candidates are running for five seats that are up for grabs in the Oct. 11 election.

Hill is running in District 3 against Heather Losurdo, Eric Squires and Jennifer Mansfield.

Sutton is seeking election in the District 4 race against Venita Peyton, and Martin is running in District 5 against Cynthia Chiklis Matson.

In District 6, Kushner is running against George Morgan, Mary Ann Weathers and Donna Williams.

Evans will face off against School Board Chairman Ron Margiotta for the District 8 seat.

Although the school board race is supposed to be nonpartisan, leaders of both Wake County's Republican and Democratic parties say they plan to be heavily involved in this year's race.

Earlier this month, the Wake County Republican Party announced that it is endorsing Losurdo, Peyton, Matson, Williams and Margiotta.

A Republican-backed majority took control in 2009 with four new board members in Margiotta's camp. Republicans at least need to hold Margiotta's seat to keep control of the majority.

All of the candidates are expected to take part in a series of forums sponsored by WakeUp Wake County and the League of Women Voters.

The first one, for District 6 candidates, is set for 7 p.m. on Sept. 8 at Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh. (View a schedule of upcoming forums.)