Gov. Roy Cooper has named three new appointments to vacant seats on the State Board of Education.
On Wednesday, Cooper appointed Greenville’s Jill Camnitz, a former local school board member in Pitt County; Charlotte’s James Ford, a former state teacher of the year in 2014-2015; and J.B. Buxton, an education consultant from Raleigh and former administrator in the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.
Because they are filling vacant seats, they will not be subject to confirmation by the state legislature. That’s noteworthy because the GOP-controlled General Assembly stonewalled previous Cooper appointees to the board, including Buxton.
And lawmakers voted down Buxton’s appointment to another seat on the board in June without any explanation.
The new appointments follow a handful of early resignations from the state’s top school board.
Some members suggested the sooner-than-expected departures came because they did not want to be in the same position as current members Tricia Willoughby and Wayne McDevitt, both of whom are serving long after their terms expired last March.
Willoughby and McDevitt have remained in their positions as lawmakers waited months to vote against Cooper’s nominees to replace the pair.
According to Cooper’s press release, Camnitz — in addition to her experience on her local school board — served as chair of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain Board of Directors, and worked with local groups like the Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County, the Pitt County Educational Foundation and the Brody Foundation.
Meanwhile, since his time as a teacher, Ford served as the program director for the Public School Forum of N.C., a nonpartisan policy and research group in Raleigh, and launched a consulting firm, Filling the Gap Education Consultants, that advises public school leaders on equity issues.
Buxton runs his own consulting company, Education Innovations Group, and once served as an education advisor to former Gov. Mike Easley.
The new board members are expected to take up their seats immediately.
The state board has had a tumultuous relationship with state lawmakers in recent years, wrestling over education policy, and the powers of Superintendent Mark Johnson.