by Joe Schwartz
Chapel Hill High School alumnus James Barrett announced today his candidacy for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education.
“We as a community share a set of goals and values for our school district. Now is the time to do things a little differently to make real progress on those goals,” he stated in a press release.
Barrett, who also attended Seawell Elementary School and Phillips Middle School, moved back to the Triangle in 1995 after working in Atlanta, and says the time is ripe for reform. New superintendent Thomas Forcella will take the reins July 1 replacing Neil Pedersen, who will step down after 19 years, which makes him the longest tenured superintendent in the district’s history.
Barrett says his experience as math tutor at Seawell, a rec-league baseball and basketball coach, a parent of two children in the district, an IBM manager and a founding member of the Orange County Justice United strategy team make him the ideal candidate. Justice United has been working to close the achievement gap but, "It's really become apparent that we are having difficulty making changes in the schools form the outside," Barrett said. "I would like to get involved in making that change from the inside."
He hopes his local experience will allow him to pursue change while keeping community values in mind.
Filing opens July 1 for the municipal campaign season with Election Day set for Nov. 8. Five of the seven board seats are open. Chairwoman Jamezetta Bedford, Vice Chairwoman Mia Day Burroughs, Mike Kelley and Annetta Streater will see their four-year terms expire. Jean Hamilton, appointed to fill the vacancy left by Joe Green who left town last year, also must campaign if she seeks to keep her seat.