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Outgoing county officials bid farewell

Longtime school board member Victor Johnson Jr. bids farewell during his last board meeting on Tuesday, Nov.27.

Outgoing county officials bid farewell
December 07
09:44 2018

Last week several county elected officials, including longtime Sheriff Bill Schatzman, County Commissioner Everette Witherspoon, and school board members Robert Barr, Marilyn Parker, David Singletary, Deanna Taylor and Victor Johnson, bid farewell to their posts.

During their final meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 27, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Board Chairwoman Dana Caudill Jones recognized the outgoing school board members for their years of dedicated service to the board and the students across the district before each board member said their goodbyes during the public meeting.

Board vice chairman and chairman of the finance committee, Robert Barr, who has been a member of the board since 2014, said he enjoyed his time serving on the board. He said, “The four years I’ve been on the board have been a great experience.

“… I look at the associate superintendents and SGAE, families, kids, and this board and our Superintendent and just say thank you for allowing me to serve,” he said.

David Singletary, who leads the BOE’s policy committee, said the goal for every board member he worked with was to serve the community to the best of their ability. He said, “It’s been fun, it’s been an event, it’s been exciting. I am blessed to have served with some wonderful people.”

Deanna Taylor, who has been on the board since 2014 and one of the few board members to speak out in support of a new Ashley Elementary School earlier this year, thanked her fellow board members and said it was an honor to serve. Although her time on the board has come to an end, Taylor said she she’ll still be involved in making WS/FCS better for all students.

“I’ll be around, even if it’s just sitting in the audience. I may be at the podium with the new board saying, ‘Here we need this,’ so I’ll still be around,” Taylor said.

Marilyn Parker who rejoined the board in 2016 to replace Mark Johnson, who was elected to serve as State Superintendent, said she was honored to serve with almost a totally new board in her second stint as a member of the School board. In her first term, Parker served on the board for more than 15 years.

When longtime board member Victor Johnson made his way to the podium, the entire board and most of the people seated in the audience stood up and applauded Johnson for his 21 years of service to the board. After years serving as a teacher and principal, Johnson was first elected to the board in 1997. While discussing the legend that is Vic Johnson, Caudill Jones said he has had a lifetime of service to kids in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.

“… Not just this, but we know about the golf tournament he puts on for students. We know how he tutors kids and just the love he has for kids and people in general,” she said. “Mr. Johnson, it has been an honor to serve with you. Thank you for all you’ve done for the kids in this community.”

Johnson said after retiring for the first time in 1993, he was persuaded by voters to run for the vacancy left on the board by Walter Marshall, who went on to serve as a Forsyth County Commissioner. Johnson said it has been a pleasure because the school system means so much to him. He also encouraged the community to support the new board members, who will be sworn in Dec. 11.

“I have really enjoyed the fellowship with these young people. I think they’re doing a good job and I think we need to get behind them and do all we can to help them out,” said Johnson. “I really appreciate everything this school system has done for me and my family. I couldn’t be happier to make this second retirement.”

The farewells continued on Thursday, Nov. 29, at the Forsyth County Government Building. During the County Commissioners meeting, proclamations were read marking the services of Commissioner Witherspoon and Sheriff Schatzman.

Witherspoon, a native of Forsyth County and graduate of Glenn High School, was first elected to the Board of County Commissioners in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. While also serving as the chief executive of Chris Rehabilitative Services LLC in Greensboro, as County Commissioner Witherspoon also served in appointments on the Centerpoint Human Services board, Commission on Ending Homelessness and the Home and Community Care Block Grant Advisory Committee.

The resolution presented by Vice Chairman Don Martin recognized Witherspoon as a “tireless advocate for human services and education in Forsyth County.” It also recognized Witherspoon’s support of Nurse Family Partnership, a program that helps first-time mothers and others in need to promote healthy children and families.

After Martin presented him with a copy of the resolution, Witherspoon said, “I’d like to thank all the citizens of Forsyth County, particularly the citizens of District A, for allowing me to represent you for these eight years. It’s been one of the most wonderful privileges of my life.”

Although he didn’t say he would run for County Commissioner again, Witherspoon did hint at a possible run when the seat for District A is up for grabs again.

A Marine veteran and retired FBI special agent, Schatzman was first elected as the sheriff of Forsyth County in 2002 and was re-elected three times. Prior to joining the Forsyth County Sheriff ‘s Department, Schatzman also served as a senior agent and North Carolina police training coordinator. As sheriff, he acted as the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association representative on the N.C. State Emergency Response Committee and the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Advisory Board.

After receiving his resolution, Schatzman said serving the citizens of Forsyth County has been a great privilege. He said, “It has been a high honor and great privilege to work at the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and be a part of Forsyth County. I’ve done a few things in my background, but this has been the best.

“We have a great team, you all are part of that team, a team that has been very successful over 16 years, with all our bumps and grinds and ups and downs. It’s been a labor of love for everyone and I thank you all for the privilege to be a part of it.”

Witherspoon’s and Schatzman’s successors were sworn in earlier this week. The new members of the Board of Education will be sworn in on Dec. 11 at the WS/FCS Education Building, 4801 Bethania Station Road.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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