LUMBERTON — The voters put one new face on the Board of Education of the Public Schools of Robeson County, and three incumbents were returned to office Tuesday night.
Board Chair Peggy Wilkins Chavis was soundly defeated in District 3 by veteran educator Linda Emanuel. Wilkins Chavis was seeking her second term.
Emanuel tallied 1,043 votes or 46.2 percent to 712 for Wilkins Chavis and 481 for Severeo Kerns.
Mike Smith, Dwayne Smith and Brenda Fairley-Ferebee were re-elected for four more years. There were 14 candidates seeking four district seats on the school board.
The school board is nonpartisan, and the primary serves as the general election. Tuesday’s winners will be sworn in during the first meeting of the school board in July.
Mike Smith, who is the longest serving school board member, won 57 percent of the total, or 1,149 votes, to 621 for Lynn Locklear and 239 for Brice Altman. Despite the margin of victory, Smith said he worked hard in District 6, which spans St. Pauls and Red Springs.
“My opponents worked very hard, and I’m tired tonight,” Smith said. “I had a lot of good help from many, many people.
“I will continue to be a voice for students and teachers and work to do what’s right. I will continue to be a positive influence on this board.”
Dwayne Smith said he also worked very hard to win re-election to his third term in District 8 in Lumberton. He won 43 percent of the vote, or 1,628, to 1,447 for Richard Monroe and 666 for Cat Gaines.
“I appreciate the people’s trust in me and their belief that I am there for the right reasons,” Dwayne Smith said. “This was a good, clean campaign, and we all ran on our agendas.
“I will continue to fight for our kids and our teachers. I believe we can start moving in the right direction.”
In District 2, Brenda Fairley-Ferebee faced four challengers and sailed to victory with 1,392 votes, or 45.67 percent of the total. Carl Lovette, Melissa Ocean, Chandra Short and LaKishia Spaulding Sweat split the remaining votes.
Fairley-Ferebee won her sixth term in the South Robeson district, although she planned not to run for re-election when the year began.
“Going into the last two days of the filing period, it appeared that nobody had filed,” she said. “A lot of students, parents and others asked me to run.”
Fairley-Ferebee said it was a clean race, and she promised to work with her opponents going forward. She said the school board has a full agenda.
“We’ve got to come together to make a decision to build a new central office,” Fairley-Ferebee said. “We have nowhere else to go.”
Linda Emanuel could not be reached for a comment.