Twelve candidates have applied for the vacant seat on the Charleston County School Board, and a front-runner isn’t immediately obvious.
The Charleston County legislative delegation will nominate someone next week to fill the West Ashley seat resigned by John Barter. Their pick will have to be approved by Gov. Nikki Haley, and the new appointee would serve on the board until the general election in November 2014.
Because the legislative delegation is involved, applicants’ political views likely will be a consideration. And because the delegation is made mostly of Republicans, it’s unlikely that a left-leaning applicant would be chosen.
One opinion that could affect lawmakers’ choice would be that of John Steinberger, who is chair of the Charleston County Republican Party. He said his executive board plans to interview an applicant Tuesday for a potential endorsement, and it would be premature to say what the board would do. He wouldn’t identify the prospective interview.
“If we have a consensus that the candidate meets our approval, then we’ll send that (recommendation),” he said.
Most of the 12 applicants for the open seat haven’t been prominent figures in controversial school board issues. One of the exceptions is Howie Comen, a private investigator who serves as director of the church pastored by county school board member Chris Collins. Comen was critical of the way the school board handled the termination of the Healing Ministries Church lease; the board kicked the church out of a former school district building.
Comen also has served as board chair of the Village Charter Middle School, which the school board didn’t allow to open.
“I am tired of pecking away at various aspects of unequal education and justice in Charleston County from the outside,” he wrote in a statement announcing his intention to seek the open seat.
Other applicants for the vacant seat include:
Robert Ray Black, a self-employed lawyer who has taught in public schools and teaches at the college level.
Edward Fennell, a retired reporter and photographer who worked for The Post and Courier for 38 years.
Charles Fox, president of Fox House Music who founded the Charleston Marathon, which raises money for the arts in the school district.
Charles Glover, a retired community leader who serves as a church minister and as a member of the District 23 (Hollywood) constituent school board.
Elizabeth Hills, a self-employed attorney who taught kindergarten through eighth grade for 20 years before becoming an attorney.
Ian Kay, a retired teacher who spent 28 years as a high school choral, orchestra and band director and who performs as an actor, singer and musician.
Burnet Mendelsohn, a retiree who has served as past president of the Rotary Club of North Charleston and Synogogue Emanu-El and was a founding trustee of Hibernian Society of Charleston Foundation.
Anne Sbrocchi, a retired school administrator and curriculum specialist for the S.C. Department of Education who also has worked with the Center for Women.
Troy Strother, executive director of the St. James Foundation who has 20 years of experience in education and nonprofit management.
Carol Tempel, a retired teacher, curriculum specialist and Charleston County school administrator who works as a self-employed educational consultant.
Tripp Wiles III, a self-employed attorney who is a former Army officer and former research analyst for the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory-Hawaii and the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office.
Reach Diette Courrégé Casey at @Diette on Twitter or (843) 937-5546.
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