Jackie McHargue, member of the Asheville school board, announces his resignation

Asheville City Schools

Asheville City Council began the process of appointing a new school board member following the resignation of Asheville City Education Council member Jackie McHargue.

McHargue’s resignation was made public during city council meeting Committee of Councils and Commissions August 24.

McHargue told the Citizen Times that she was stepping down from the board in November due to her family moving to Weaverville. All school board members must live in the Asheville City School District and are appointed by the City Council.

“Finding a good community with an affordable home that can accommodate a family of five is what kept us focused,” she said. “Weaverville is a beautiful region.

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McHargue stepped down as Dean of Students at UNC Asheville end of July. She now works as a Managing Partner with Therapeutic Consultants of the South-East.

“I’m really sad to be leaving,” McHargue said. “The work of the board of directors is crucial and is not an endeavor that I have undertaken lightly.”

George Sieburg, former CFO of Homeward Bound of Western North Carolina, was recommended as a replacement for McHargue.

The board and commission committee approved Sieburg’s recommendation at the August 24 meeting. City council will likely vote on the nomination at its Sept. 28 meeting, city spokeswoman Polly McDaniel said.

“He has extensive experience in finance, and I think at this particular time given the complexities surrounding the finances of the school system, I think he would be a huge asset,” said City Councilor Antanette Mosley.

Sieburg was one of the candidates considered when McHargue was selected for the role in April.

Jensen Gelfond shared his concerns with the appointment process with the committee on August 24.

“It feels like it was extremely rushed – no opportunity for debate, no opportunity for research, no opportunity for discussion,” he said. “It gives the impression of being very dispersed. I feel like this is a disservice to our extremely important school board.

McHargue shared the concerns.

“Given the importance of the board’s work, the critical issues and concerns at hand, the growing achievement gap, and the challenging education landscape – financial, COVID, testing, fairness – I think it’s essential to make sure there is an open process for the appointment, ”she said. “I hope the conversations within the board leadership weighed heavily in their decision making.”

The Asheville City Educators Association also released a statement opposing the city’s decision to go ahead with an appointment.

“The public deserves another open process when it comes to filling this position. We ask the city to conduct a fair and open process to select a new board member, actively soliciting input from parents, school staff and other members of our community before making any decisions, ” said Daniel Withrow, president of the Asheville City Educators Association.

City Councilor Sheneika Smith, who chairs the board and commission committee, said the decision to withdraw previous candidates rather than restart the nomination process came after “vigorous discussion.”

“I don’t want it to be implied that we pick or randomly select a process or a recommendation. … We did extensive research individually on the candidates we selected, ”said Smith. “This process is not lacking in transparency or advice.”

City Councilor Sheneika Smith listens during an Asheville City Council meeting on September 24, 2019.

McHargue also expressed confusion over the decision to go ahead with the selection of a new member as a bill that would require school board members to be elected rather than appointed currently sits in the legislature. of State.

Bill 400 House would adopt a system of electing education council members rather than current city council appointments. Only one other school board in the state is not elected.

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The legislation was passed by the state House of Representatives on May 6. It is in committee with the State Senate.

“The bill is currently due to be heard by the State and Local Government Committee tomorrow at 2 pm,” Senate Principal Clerk Sarah Holland said on Aug. 24. … “If it receives a favorable report, (it) will be referred sequentially to the Rules of Procedure and the operation of the Senate committee.

Shelby Harris is a reporter who covers breaking news, education and other topics. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @_shelbyharris.

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