Voters returned two incumbents as well as a new face to the Scotland County Board of Education.
On Tuesday, newcomer Pat Gates received 6,884 votes — the highest count of any one candidate running for school board.
Jeff Byrd and Duke Williams were reelected with 5,992 and 6,378 votes respectively. Incumbent Terence Williams was defeated in his try for a second term on the board.
A total of five people were running for the three at-large seats.
“I am extremely excited; I’m looking forward to seeing a different side of school because I’ve always been on the administrative side,” Gates said. “I’m looking forward to all of it getting started.”
Gates is a native of Laurinburg who retired earlier this year after working in Scotland County’s schools for 31 years. Most recently, she served as principal of South Scotland Elementary School in Laurinburg.
Of the two non-winning candidates, Terence Williams received 4,708 votes and retired Scotland County Schools administrator Rodney Hassler got 3,735.
“It doesn’t stop me from doing what I need to do,” Terence Williams said upon information of his loss. “I know how to fight for my children, and I won’t stop fighting for everybody else’s… life goes on.”
Williams’ fellow school board members elected him vice-chairman of the board in December 2011, and he has also served as chairman of the North Carolina Caucus of Black School Board Members.
At-large candidate Charles Brown of Wagram, who ran unopposed, was also reelected to the school board. Brown received 7,491 votes, with 152 write-in votes. Currently school board chairman, Brown is a retired educator who taught in the county for 30 years.
Both area natives, Byrd and Duke Williams will both commence second terms on the board in December. Byrd is a physician at the Purcell Clinic in Laurinburg. Williams has worked in law enforcement for 19 years and is currently a lieutenant in the Laurinburg Police Department.
“I’m looking forward to working with the other two winners, and of course we have a board member who didn’t win, Terence Williams, and we’re always grateful to those who sacrifice their time for the betterment of Scotland County,” Williams said. “Terence put forth the good fight and we’ll see him off well and wish him luck… We’ll have to regroup, get everybody’s thoughts together, and move forward.”