The Jackson County Board of Education could not reach an agreement in an attempt to appoint a replacement for the late Cecil Gant at special called meeting this week. Gant was the representative for District 2.
Board President Chad Gorham opened the meeting by speaking about Gant’s life and the impact he had on the board of education. He said Gant was “loved by a lot of folks.” He also said Gant brought wisdom to the board of education.
“Mr. Gant was my colleague on this board, but he was also my friend,” said Gorham.
Gorham then opened the floor for nominations. Board member Charles West nominated Linda Smith to fill Gant’s seat. West said Smith was one of two people Gant wanted to be his replacement.
West said that she was active in board business, and she knows what is happening in the school system. Smith taught in Jackson County for over 30 years.
“I can’t see how anyone on this board would not vote for her,” said West.
West’s motion for Smith to fill the seat was not given a second, therefore the motion failed.
Board member Mike Matthews nominated Chris Knight to represent District 2. Matthews said he has known Knight for about five years. Knight works as a salesman for Pepsi, and he has never been involved with the schools. Matthews said that would allow Knight to look at things from a different perspective.
“Chris is a great guy, and I think he would do well for every school,” said Matthews. “He would really fit the bill for this position.”
Board Vice President Angela Guess seconded Matthews’s motion for Knight to fill the vacant seat. Both Guess and Matthews voted for Knight, but West and Gorham abstained. The motion did not pass because it did not receive a majority vote.
Gorham made the next nomination. He nominated Dwight Griffith. Griffith was a long-time teacher in Jackson County. He taught in the county school system for 28 years. He was a coach, and he taught at Northeast Alabama Community College as well. Gorham said Griffith has been active in civic organizations in and around Pisgah.
“He is a moral man, and someone who will objectively look at all situations we are faced with as a board,” said Gorham. “I am confident that he would make a good board member.”
West seconded Gorham’s motion to add Griffith the board. Both Gorham and West voted in favor for Griffith, but Matthews opposed and Guess abstained. The motion did not pass because it did not receive a majority vote.
The board scheduled a meeting for Friday, June 21 at 8 a.m. to attempt to fill Gant’s seat. If they cannot choose a replacement by June 23, the State Superintendent will choose the replacement.
Gorham said that this was an important decision for the board, and they all want to get it right. He said there were three good nominations, and the board would try to make a decision at its next meeting.