There are five candidates running for three Clover School District Board of Trustees seats. Voters will decide at the Nov. 8 general election.
One, seat 4, which represents the southern middle portion of the district, is not contested. Ginger Marr will succeed Franklin Pendleton, who has held the seat for 24 years.
Pendleton, an attorney of Pendleton & Pendleton Law Office in Clover, served six terms. He said with no children in school, “it’s time to step aside and let someone else have the seat.”
The other two seats are contested.
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Seat 3, representing the western portion of the district, is held by Liz Johnson, who will face challenger Dennis Cameron.
Two new candidates will vie for the at-large seat held by Melanie Wilson, who is not running again. Jessica Cominksy Cody will face James “Jay” Young.
The Clover school board has five districts with residency requirements and two at-large seats. Voting, however, is at-large for all seven seats.
School board elections are non-partisan. School board members are not paid.
Other board members seats do not expire until 2018. They are Mack McCarter, chairman, at-large; Joe Gordon, seat 1; Sherri Ciurlik, seat 2; and Rob Wallace, seat 5.
The board meets formally once a month to discuss the district's business, needs and concerns at the district office, 604 Bethel St. The board chairman may call special meetings as needed.
Here’s a brief look at each candidate:
Jessica Cominsky Cody, 40, is the mother of two Clover Middle School students Fenton, 11, and Wyatt, 13. She is a coalition coach for Eat Smart Move Move York County.
“I love this district and have dedicated many years volunteering my time to help make it a great place for every student,” she said. “I want to continue to serve this district in any way I can.”
Cody served four years on the Bethany PTO, and as president for two. She attended financial training hosted by the district office and worked with other parent-teacher groups.
“This gave me the opportunity to get to know staff and administration on a personal level,” she said.
She also serves on Clover High School’s Moped to Memphis board.
“I have been able to get to work with organizations like Interact Club and Clover Choraliers,” she said.
Her Facebook page is facebook.com/jessicacodyschoolboard2016/.
James “Jay” Young, 38, is married to Courtney Young , a first-grade teacher at Oakridge Elementary School. They have three daughters: Lydia, 7, second grade at OES, Mary Miller, 5 , kindergarten at OES, and Carly, 2.
He is a financial professional with Prudential, in his 16th year. He has run the Prudential practice at 4609 Charlotte Highway since 2004
“I'm a lifelong resident of the area, and I love our school district and all it represents,” he said, adding his mother, Elaine Young, is a retired Clover educator. “The Clover School District, along with its residents, expect excellence. The district has achieved that year in and year out.”
He wants to make sure his children and all students “get to experience that first-class education as well.”
He says having grown up in Clover but running a business in Lake Wylie for 12 years, “I am very cognizant of the needs of everyone across the entire district and am very excited for the opportunity to serve.”
Dennis Cameron, 59, had a military background and his two children graduated from Clover High School.
“I am very proud of their accomplishments in their lives. I know the Clover schools, and especially their teachers, played a very important role in shaping them into hard working and responsible citizens,” he said.
He is an engineer and 1978 graduate of Clemson University with a degree in agricultural engineering and a 1993 graduate of the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College. He retired in 2014 from ElectriCities of NC after 33 years and is now employed with the Piedmont Municipal Power Agency in Greer.
“I had the management responsibility of over a $200 million annual operating and capital budget,” he said.
Cameron was a second lieutenant in the Army in December 1978, serving two years active duty and another 28 in the Army Reserve. Prior to retirement as colonel from the military in December 2008, he was the commander of the Facility Engineer Group Northeast United States with the responsibility for providing base operation services throughout the world.
“People my age have a duty to pass along our knowledge and skills to the generations that follow us in order for all our students to be responsible and productive citizens in our communities and country,” he said. “Our children are the most critical resource we have, and if we fail to provide them with our best then shame on us.”
Cameron says his work and military career offer knowledge and experiences that will help on the school board and management of local education system.
“I believe that balancing the needs of the children and the taxpayers of our community is a difficult task and often conflicts with each other,” he said. “However, I am prepared to make the hard decisions necessary to maintain our local education system at the highest level possible while looking out for the taxpayers’ interest in our community.”
He said he can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or home phone 803-222-4868.
Elizabeth "Liz" Stowe Johnson, 70, is a retired public school teacher and current school board member.
“Clover School District is an excelling school district, which I'm proud to be a part of,” she said. “I am very proud to proclaim that a lot of hard work has been put into the effort of giving all students equal opportunity to be provided a first-rate education.”
Her first year of teaching was in 1970, and now she has more than 30 years of service to the school system.
“My dedication and passion for improving the quality of education for our youth is the reason for my running for office,” she said. “It takes dedication, consideration, unselfishness, mindfulness and enterprising/assertive characteristics for maintaining that first-rate education for ALL students. Our teachers, staff, administrators and board members all work together in obtaining excellence. I'm running because I possess these characteristics and am willing to give my time and effort toward this goal.”
Ginger Marr, 45, is manager of presidential relations and events at Queens University of Charlotte with two children in Clover schools.
“As a Clover High School alum, I am so proud of our schools and purposely choose to live in Clover because of the excellent school system,”she said.
She is a former staff member and adjunct instructor at Winthrop University with 23 years in higher education. She has served as a school PTO president and volunteered on committees such as School Improvement Council, AdvanceEd and district’s Teacher of the Year Selection group.
“I am interested in doing all that I can to ensure our schools continue to provide an academically challenging curriculum taught by highly-qualified educators in safe, top-notch school facilities,” Marr said. “My goal is to see our district continue to excel and improve and be a leader in the state and region.
She also serves as elder at Oakdale Presbyterian Church, former board member at Bethelwoods Camp and Conference Center, and Clover High School Choraliers and Clover LEAF Foundation board member. She is a graduate and former task force member of Leadership York County.
“As a parent of children heavily involved in extracurricular activities, I appreciate the opportunities provided by our district in the arts, athletics and many other civic/interest organizations,” she said.
Her Facebook page is facebook.com/GingerMarrforCloverSchoolBoard/.