By Paul Gable
Four candidates have filed for the special election to fill the vacancy on the Horry County Board of Education created when Chairman Joe DeFeo died suddenly last month.
Three candidates filed for the Republican nomination for the vacant seat, incumbent School Board District 5 representative Janice Morreale, former teacher Patricia Milley and Conway businessman Ken Richardson. A special primary election will be held July 17, 2018 to determine which of the above three gains the Republican nomination.
Former Aynor Middle School teacher Heather Johnson filed as a Democrat with no primary opposition.
The winner of the Republican Primary will face Johnson in the November 6, 2018 general election.
Richardson has been a member of the Horry Georgetown Technical College Area Commission for 20 years. He was associated with Fowler Motors for 40 years, beginning as a salesman and working his way up. He owned the dealership for the last 14 years of his association before selling in 2009. He will undoubtedly be the best financed candidate in the race.
Richardson has been planning to run for the school board chairman seat since January 2017, when he first announced his intention to be a candidate in 2020. DeFeo’s death has moved up that timetable. Richardson has advocated for an open door policy by the superintendent for all teachers and administrators in the school district.
Morreale was first elected to the school board in the 2012 general election. She was reelected in 2016. She has been a solid board member representing her district well. However, as the only incumbent school board member in the race, she will face questions about the pay raise school board members voted for themselves recently and about why most recent school construction has come in over budget.
Milley unsuccessfully challenged John Poston for the School Board District 8 seat two years ago. As a former teacher, she has promoted ideas such as more recess time for students and a shorter school day. Milley believes both would better help students concentrate during classroom instruction.
Johnson became known for her interviews after a former student committed suicide due to bullying. She is an outspoken advocate for more teacher awareness of potential bullying and reform and accountability of how bullying situations are dealt with.
The Republican candidates will have to swing into action to get their message out quickly with a July 17th primary looming in a little over seven weeks.