A candidate qualified for the District 2 Lowndes County School Board seat just before Friday’s deadline.
Brad Fleming, vice president of Southeastern Lumber in Columbus, is the sole qualifier for the District 2 seat and will replace Brian Clark, who opted not to seek re-election.
Fleming has three children who attend New Hope schools in LCSD and has volunteered at several school functions.
“I’m a business guy,” Fleming said. “We have a great county — our board of supervisors, the economic development people, they have done an outstanding job bringing industries to our area. A large part of that is because of our schools. When these industries look to locate here, schools are one of the big things they look for.”
At Friday’s deadline, incumbent Jane Kilgore, currently the board president, remained the only qualifier for her District 1 seat. She and Fleming will both run unopposed in November’s election and be seated for six-year terms in January.
District 1 includes Caledonia and Steens. District 2 runs south of Kilgore’s and spans from Columbus Air Force Base east to the state line and south to the northern boundary of the Columbus Municipal School District.
With less than 48 hours before the deadline, no one had qualified to take Clark’s seat. If Fleming hadn’t stepped up, the board would have appointed someone for the District 2 seat until the governor-called special election could take place.
LCSD board attorney Jeff Smith said that has happened twice since October 1990.
Fleming told The Dispatch he had “really hard shoes to fill” in replacing Clark, who has served 12 years on the board. Fleming said while he doesn’t believe there needs to be a lot of fixing within the school district, he does want to focus on unity among residents and schools.
Clark will finish his term in December and said the years of service helped him become a better businessman and person.
“It helped me grow and thickened my skin,” Clark said. “In a way it helped me in my role as CEO of 4-County. I’m an introvert by nature, and it forced me to come out of my shell a little bit.”
Kilgore, during Friday’s LCSD board meeting, said the board is losing a valued member, and she thanked him for his time and business expertise on the board.
“We’re going to miss him,” Kilgore said. “He has been an incredible asset for the board and for our community.”
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