LAURINBURG — Eight longtime Scotland County residents declared their intent to run for local public office, including five for the Scotland County Board of Education, during the last few hours of filing for in the 2014 general election on Friday.
Summer G. Stanley and the Rev. J. Gentile Everett joined the race for the board’s two at-large seats currently held by Jimmy Bennett and Jamie Underwood, both of whom have also filed.
Stanley, a lifetime Scotland resident and 1994 graduate of Scotland High School, holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, a master’s in social work from the University of North Carolina and a doctorate in specialized education services from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is currently an assistant professor at UNC-P and has a private counseling practice that serves children at risk for academic failure.
“During my seven years as a school social worker in this district, I gained a balanced perspective of the daily challenges faced by our school administrators and teachers, as well as the issues our students and families are coping with,” Stanley said in a statement. “My goal as a board member is to be an advocate for those members of our community who are not always heard.”
Stanley has previously worked for Hospice of Scotland County, the Scotland Cancer Treatment Center and Scotland County Schools. She and her husband Brian have two children: Brianna, a recent graduate of Scotland High School, and Gavin, a fourth grader.
Everett, a Laurinburg native and 1979 graduate of the Laurinburg Institute, is senior pastor of Mill Branch Baptist Church in Fairmont, where he also serves as president of the church’s divinity school.
Everett attended Gardner-Webb University, North Carolina A&T University, St. Andrews University, Duke University, Duke Divinity School and Southeastern Theological Seminary, where he was honored as an All-American Scholar. He is the author of two Christian books, “The Making of a Life” and “The Eternal Divorce.” The latter book focuses on the issue of separation of church and state.
“My interest in serving the public is to promote the highest proficiency in academic inquiry, and to involve and engage our community as we try to provide positive shape to the minds of our students,” Everett said. “I hope to assist in providing opportunity and promoting an employment picture that resembles the demographics it serves.”
Everett is a member of the Iota Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He is a graduate of the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Raymond Hyatt, Darlene Alston and Dr. Walter T. Jackson III, all lifelong residents of Scotland County, filed to run for a Stewartsville seat, one of which is held by incumbent B.J. Gibson, who will run for re-election. Robert Malloy, former Laurinburg police chief, has also filed. Paul Rush, a physician and longtime Stewartsville board member, did not file to run again.
Hyatt is a graduate of Scotland High, holds an associate’s degree from Richmond Community College, and has owned Heritage Styling Salon for 25 years. His wife Dara has taught at Carver Middle School for 20 years. They have two children, both in the fourth grade.
“I serve countless residents in the Scotland County area, many of whom are parents and teachers,” Hyatt said. “I want to be their voice. I want to see the quality of education in Scotland County maximize its potential.”
Hyatt is a member of Stewartsville Baptist, where he has taught Sunday School for several years. He has been a Cape Fear Cub Scout leader for three years.
Alston, pastor of Restorehouse Ministries in Laurinburg, formerly worked as an administrative assistant for Laurinburg Downtown Revitalization Corporation. She holds an associate’s degree in Information Technology from Richmond Community College.
“I have a passion to see my city and youth restored,” she said. “If there is no seed there will be no harvest. Our youth are the seed of the now and the future harvest. As a community we will produce from what has been planted.”
Jackson is an assistant principal at Dillon County Schools and is a retired assistant superintendent for Human Services and Administrative Services at the Public Schools of Robeson County. He has 35 years of experience in education, having served as a teacher, guidance counselor, assistant principal, principal, executive director and assistant superintendent. Jackson was named Administrator of the Year for Robeson County Schools in 2001, was runner-up for Principal of the Year of Robeson County Schools in 2002, and was the first runner-up as finalist for Superintendent of Scotland County Schools in 2009.
“I believe that all Scotland County residents should have a voice in the decisions made by our Board of Education. As a parent of a tenth grade student, I believe that our children and the needs of our schools should always be our No. 1 priority.”
Jackson is married to Dr. Harriet M. Jackson, who works at Dillon County Schools. He holds several positions with the United Methodist Church and holds the title of Most Worshipful Master at the Masonic Lodge No. 229 in Hasty. He also serves on The United Way executive board for Robeson County.
Clerk of Court
Also on Friday, a challenger filed for Clerk of Superior Court.
Scott Sellers, a Democrat who works as an investigator with the Public Defender’s Office that serves Scotland and Hoke counties, will challenge Philip McRae, also a Democrat.
“I have enjoyed working within our enforcement and judicial systems and hope to continue serving our county as the Clerk of Superior Court,” Sellers said.
Sellers, also a lifetime Scotland County resident, graduated from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke and has a total of 19 years in the judicial system, having also served as a probation and parole officer. He has been a member of the Laurinburg Optimist Club for seven years, currently serving as the immediate past president. During his tenure as president, the club was recognized as an Honor Club.
Sellers and his wife Leslie have four children — ages 10, 8, and 17-month-old twins — and he is a member of Laurinburg Presbyterian Church, where he serves as a Deacon and an Elder.
Ralph Kersey on Friday filed as the lone Republican candidate for Scotland County Sheriff. Democratic incumbent Sheriff Shep Jones will be challenged by Rodney Tucker in the May primary.
Kersey, a county native, graduated from Scotland High School in 1979 and enlisted with the U.S. Marine Corps. He was honorably discharged in 1983 at the rank of Sergeant.
From 1987 to 2011, he served as a highway patrolman, receiving the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state’s highest civilian honor, following his retirement.
It is Kersey’s second bid for public office, having run for Scotland County Sheriff in 2006.
“I believe now more than ever that elected officials should be accountable to the people they serve,” Kersey said. “As sheriff I know that I can take the department in a new direction. I will lead with a leadership attitude and not a boss attitude. I will restore accountability and facial responsibility to the department and county.”
Kersey attends Grace Church in Aberdeen.
Terence Williams, president of Scotland County’s NAACP, filed for a Stewartsville seat on the Scotland County Board of Commissioners on Friday. He joins Shelley Strickland and Samuel Cribb in challenging incumbents Carol McCall and Guy McCook.
The Spring Hill seat will be a race between Linda S. Tindall, Ronnie Nicholson and Betty Blue Gholston. John Cooley, who currently holds the seat, will allow his term to expire.
All candidates for the county board are Democrats.
State Reps. Garland Pierce and Ken Goodman, both Democrats, will run unopposed. Incumbent state Sen. Gene McLaurin, of Rockingham, will be challenged by Republican Tom McInnis of Ellerbe and Libertarian P.H. Dawkins of Hamlet.
U.S. Rep Richard Hudson, of Concord, will be challenged by Democrat Antonio Blue, of Hamlet.
The Republican primary for U.S. Sen is packed with eight candidates: Thom Tillis, Jim Snyder, Edward Kryn, Mark Harris, Heather Grant, Alex Lee Bradshaw, Greg Brannon and Ted Alexander.
Democrats Will Stewart and Ernest T. Reeves will challenge U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan. Libertarians Sean Haugh and Tim D’Annunzio have also filed.
Abbi Overfelt can be reached at 910-276-2311, ext. 12. Follow her on Twitter @aoinscotco.