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One new, one former member elected to school board

Posted: June 12, 2014 5:04 p.m.
Updated: June 13, 2014 5:00 a.m.
C-I file photos/

Charles King (left) and Mark Sury won the school board seat Nos. 8 and 2, respectively, on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s primaries also served as election day for two seats on the Kershaw County Board of School Trustees. Voters elected Mark Sury to Seat No. 2 over incumbent Nissary Wood, 863 votes to 428. They also voted to return Dr. Charles King to Seat No. 8, which he vacated four years ago, instead of incumbent Dr. Don Copley, 779 to 426.

“I truly appreciate the vote of confidence as well as those who assisted me with my campaign,” King said. “Most folks know that I have dedicated my career to the betterment of public education and I plan to utilize my expertise with instruction, finance, personnel, technology and operational matters to help our district continue to move forward and be the best it can be.”

King added that he would emphasize placing resources where he believes they will have the most impact: classrooms.

“I have one overriding premise before I make any decision in my job and that is to consider the impact the decision will have on the welfare, safety, and education of the children in our district. I am ready and willing to serve and as always, I will be a strong representative for my constituents, as well as the children and teachers of Kershaw County,” he said.

Copley said that even though his campaign was unsuccessful, he felt he ran it the way he wanted.

“The most important things to me were honesty and integrity,” Copley said. “I also think Dr. King ran an honorable campaign, I do think he worked harder than I did and the results show. I find I like to be part of planning and finding solutions to issues more than running for office and it is tough for me to campaign and ask for votes.”

For the remainder of his term on the board, Copley said that he plans to continue as he has in the past.

“I think it will be important for me and all of the board members to let the public know what we have seen that led us to vote the way we did on Phase 2 (of the) facilities equalization (plan). If this doesn’t pass this year, I think most of the plan will need to be done soon and the taxpayer may have to fund a much larger amount. Also, any delays will mean more money wasted to improve old schools only to lose the upgrades or repairs if the schools are later demolished. It is imperative that as trustees we communicate this to the voters and I will do my part in this effort.”

Copley said he believed the board would be “in good hands” when he leaves in January.

“Dr. King has all the knowledge and ability and the previous experience as a board member to be a great board member … I know that we have a special advocate in Ron Blackmon (for the Special Education program) and I can trust his passion on these issues,” Copley said.

Sury said the support of his family and his community made his campaign a wonderful experience.

“The best part was personally meeting so many people in the community. I discovered that the constituents of seat two want a unified school board, “Sury said.

He said he was humbled and honored by the election results.

“My goals for the upcoming term are to increase communication within the seat by being visible and accessible within the community,” Sury said. I want to help implement our technical education programs. As an I.T. professional I want to ensure that future technology purchases will be both functional as well as appropriate for our students. I will work with other School Board Members to unify our school programs. Each member represents a different areas of the county; we must remember our actions will affect the entire school district.”

Wood said each campaign for elected office -- whether as an incumbent or new candidate -- is a learning experience.

“Many individual factors, some unpleasant, led to the outcome,” she said. “Campaigns work that way. It is important that we use them as learning experiences. For me, this campaign worked as a sieve. It allowed me to get a better understanding of what the people of our area look for in a school board member. It also allowed me to better appreciate the people who truly support and believe in the work I do as a member of our community. For that knowledge and for those people, I am truly thankful.”

For the remainder of her term, Wood said she will continue to serve to do the work she says still needs to be done.

“The work I do to support the schools of Kershaw County didn’t start when I was elected. It sure as hell isn’t going to stop just because I lost an election,” Wood said. “The students and teachers need as many boots on the ground helping them succeed as possible. As for the future of the board, I can only speculate on how the dynamic will change. There are a lot of big issues that need to be addressed in our county. I can only hope that they do what is best for our students. There are some great people on the board and I trust they will make good decisions.”

Wood also said that she and her family will be working to make S.C. Senator Vincent Sheheen, of Kershaw County, the state’s next governor.”


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