The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education appointed Joal Hall Broun to fill the seat left vacant when Michelle Brownstein resigned in December.
Broun is the director of lobbying compliance with the N.C. Department of the Secretary of State and the mother of two Chapel Hill High students. She previously served for six years on the board of directors of OWASA and 12 years on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen.
School board member Rani Dasi said that leadership experience won her vote.
“What the board needs is some structural support,” said Dasi. “We lost 31 years of experience in our last three board members who left the board, so I really thought about making sure that my candidate had some elected experience that might help the board move forward.”
Broun beat out six other applicants for the seat. There was little discussion among board members prior to the vote, due in part to what board member Andrew Davidson called “an embarrassment of riches” among the candidates.
“We’re normally a very verbose group, but we clam up during this process,” said Davidson. “I think it’s because when we have seven highly qualified candidates, it’s hard for any one of us to speak out because we don’t want to make anyone to feel they’ve wasted their effort.”
Broun will take the place of Brownstein, who stepped down midway through her second term. Brownstein didn’t offer an explanation for her departure, but the resignation came less than a month after she found herself on the losing end of a vote to appoint a new board chair.
In her application to fill the vacancy, Broun named closing the district’s achievement gap as her top priority, along with teacher retention and long-term planning for maintenance of school facilities.
“The board needs to advocate for an ongoing maintenance fund that keeps the school system from having to have the huge outlays of funds after not maintaining schools over a long period of time,” she wrote.
Broun previously ran for a seat on the school board in the November 2015 election. She finished sixth in a field of eight candidates, taking in 4,005 votes, or 11.2 percent of ballots cast.
She will be sworn in March 3 and she’ll serve on the board until December 2017.