Dare school board bids farewell to three members, greets new superintendent

Published 5:02 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2022

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On Nov. 9, 2022, Dare County’s Board of Education witnessed Steve Basnight sworn in as the new Superintendent of Dare County Schools and bade farewell to departing board members.

Basnight was sworn in as superintendent of Dare County Schools by newly reelected Clerk of Superior Court Dean Tolson. Holding the Bible was Ashley Basnight, the new superintendent’s wife.

At least 30 Basnight family members and friends attended the ceremony in the Dare County Board of Commissioners meeting room in Manteo.

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Basnight takes office Dec. 1, 2022.

Basnight said, to every administrator, teacher and student that he had worked with, “I am a product of everyone.”

Leaving the board are Joe Tauber, who served two terms and briefly as chair, and Frank Hester, who served one term. Margaret Lawler served 16 years on the Dare County Board of Education.

She was saluted by Bea Basnight, former board chair, during public comment. Bea Basnight also offered congratulations to the incoming superintendent and thanked Tauber and Hester.

Toward the end of the meeting, current board Chair David Twiddy presented plaques to the departing members for their dedicated service. The plaques read “In appreciation for your commitment to improving the quality of education in Dare County and for the many accomplishments achieved under the Board of Education goals.”

Newly elected members are Barry Wickre, Ron Payne and Matt Brauer and when they become members, all Dare County school board members will be Republican. The gender split will be five men and two women.

As to business, after the current board’s closed door session, the board unanimously passed the confidential schoolwide safety plan.

Interim Superintendent Steve Blackstock introduced a new initiative from the state Department of Public Instruction. Called Portrait of a Graduate, the initiative defines “the skills and mindsets students need for success after high school …,” states the department’s media release.

Some 1,200 North Carolinians participated in defining the portrait.

“The statewide Portrait identifies seven competencies that students should possess upon graduation from high school to help them thrive in the 21st century,” states the release.

Those competencies are adaptability, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, empathy, learner’s mindset and personal responsibility.

Blackstock announced that the school system will be the first school in North Carolina to pilot an aviation program. During a school year, students will build an airplane and learn to fly.

As an update, Blackstock told the board that a draft of extracurricular activities and student organizations for home school participation has been forwarded to school principals and to school board attorney Rachel Hitch for review.

The board adopted on second reading the following policy manual updates:

– New policy 2310 Public Participation at Board Meetings

– Revised Policy 2340: Board Meeting Procedures

– Revised Policy 4110: Immunization and Health Requirements for School Admission

– Revised Policy 4400: Attendance

– Revised Policy 7620: Payroll Deductions

– Revised Policy 9400 (Formerly Policy 9405): Sale, Disposal and Lease of Board-Owned Real Property

Introduced at this board meeting for first reading are the following policy manual updates:

– Revised Policy 2210: Duties of Officers

– Repeal Policy 2212: Duties of the Chairperson

– Repeal Policy 2214: Duties of the Vice Chairperson

– Repeal Policy 2216: Duties of Board Secretary

– Revised Policy 2600: Consultants to the Board

– New Policy 6450: Purchase of Services

– Revised Policy 6560: Disposal of Surplus Property

– New Policy 7360/8225: Crowdfunding

– New Form 7360/8225-A: Crowdfunding Project Approval Form (for information only)

– New Form 7360/8225-B: Crowdfunding Parent Consent Form (for information only)

Board member Carl Woody asked that the policy on disposal of surplus property provide an opportunity for students and employees to purchase before an item goes to auction. The matter was referred to the school board attorney.

The board approved a revised schedule for regular meetings. From December 2022 through June 2023, the board will meet on the second Monday of each month at 5 p.m. in the commissioners meeting room, 954 Marshall C. Collins Dr. in Manteo.

In the consent agenda, the board approved three sets of minutes and five budget amendments.

Also in the consent agenda was the Manteo Elementary School Improvement Plan.

At the end of the meeting, the three departing board members said it was a privilege and honor to serve on the Dare County Board of Education. Singled out for her help and service was Georgia Sellers, administrative assistant to the board and superintendent. “She keeps us straight,” said Lawler.