Jamie Sutherland was appointed Monday night to fill a vacant seat on the Scotland County Board of Education.
Sutherland received the majority of votes — five — to replace school board member James Underwood, who died suddenly last year.
The school board had five applicants to chose from. At Monday’s meeting, each board member submitted their choice on a secrect ballot to Board Attorney Nick Sojka. The individual votes were not made public.
“We have remembered your presentations and we’ve kept those things in mind,” board Chairman Charles Brown said prior to the voting. “Each of us are individuals and I think this will be carried out in the most positive way possible.”
Applicants Emma McNeil-Stone and Stacy Stewart each received one vote in the first round of voting.
Of the seven seated board members, five cast their ballots for Sutherland, giving him a clear victory with more than the four votes required. If no applicant had come away with four or more votes in the first round, voting would have continued until a clear winner emerged.
“We had a great pool of people to consider, and I want to thank each one of them for stepping up,” said board member Paul Rush. “The community appreciates it and I appreciate it. We thank you for all of your interest in what we do.”
Sutherland is a Scotland County native who resides in Laurinburg. He is a past president of the Laurinburg Optimist Club and is on the board of Communities in Schools of Scotland County, a nonprofit dropout prevention program with staff at Carver Middle School and North Laurinburg Elementary. He works as a physical therapist with Carolina Therapy Services.
Sutherland will be sworn in within the week. He expressed surprise at his selection and said that he intends to run for re-election to the seat when it expires in 2014. The school board began taking applications in November.
“I’ve got three kids: one in each level of the school system next year,” Sutherland said. “I’m from here, born and raised here, and I plan on staying here. That was really the driving force behind me putting my name in the hat.”