Debra Goldman's colorful Wake school board tenure

February 4, 2013 

We’ve got to give her this: Debra Goldman has a certain flair, intended or not. After a rocky three-plus years as a member of the conservative Republican bloc on the Wake County school board, Goldman is headed to Wilkes County in Western North Carolina to run a nonprofit organization that focuses on stroke prevention and awareness.

Previously, she’d parlayed her experience on the school board into the Republican nomination for state auditor, probably helped by name recognition that sometimes came for reasons she’d rather not remember: implying to the Cary police that fellow GOP board member Chris Malone (now in the state House) might have broken into her home and stolen cash, coins and jewels; Malone’s statements to Cary police that he and Goldman had a “heated” physical affair, which she denied; repeated reports she and her family filed with Cary police about fears of theft, intruders and domestic disputes; her vote to derail an assignment plan favored by Republicans.

And then there was the race for auditor, for which she had no apparent qualifications. She lost to incumbent Beth Wood.

Even her leaving had a curious twist. Though she’d changed her voter registration, she planned to vote on Malone’s successor and announce her resignation Tuesday. But with a registration change, she became ineligible for membership on the board.

Mercy. But in addition to “enlivening” the board, the chaos created by Goldman and other Republicans serves as an important point to all parents and taxpayers and others in Wake County who take a special interest in public education (which should be everyone). School board seats are important, and when a board is distracted by ideological issues, damage can be done.

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