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School board taking time with District 4 appointment

POSTED: March 6, 2014 8:21 p.m.

The Effingham County Board of Education might remain a party of four until after the May 20 general primary.

Two people — Beth Helmly and Amanda Phillips — submitted letters of interest to complete Mose Mock’s District 4 term. The deadline to do so was Wednesday.

Helmly, Phillips, Faith Jaudon and Ben Johnson qualified this week to run in the May primary to serve a four-year term in the seat.

Mock made a tearful announcement Jan. 23 that he would step down from the school board to spend more time with his son, who is battling a rare form of lymphoma. His term expires at the end of this year.

Since two people interested in completing Mock’s term also want to be elected to the seat, the school board might wait until after the primary to appoint someone to represent District 4.

“Since the election is so early this year, I think that could be a possibility, for sure,” Schools Superintendent Randy Shearouse said Wednesday. “They can see who qualifies, and at the next meeting, we need to have some discussion on what they want to do.”

The school board’s next meeting will be March 20 at 7 p.m.

Additional candidates could enter the race as well. Qualifying ends at noon Friday.

Helmly is a former principal of Ebenezer Middle School and Effingham County Middle School.

“As a life-long educator, I feel that my appointment to this position would allow me to continue to serve the students, employees and parents of the Effingham County School System,” Helmly wrote in her letter of interest.

Phillips has school-age children and serves on the Ebenezer Elementary School Council.

“This positive experience led me to consider a future with the school board. It was not until Mr. Mock’s sudden resignation that my aspirations became a current reality,” Phillips wrote.

The remote possibility exists that the board of education could decide to appoint someone other than Helmly or Phillips, according to Shearouse. What is certain is that no action will be taken prior to the March 20 BoE meeting.

“It needs to be discussed openly,” he said.

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