Wake County school board members were playing nice to Keith Sutton on Tuesday a month after ousting him as board chairman.
New board chairwoman Christine Kushner presented Sutton a plaque “on behalf of the board with heartfelt thanks for your dedication and excellence to advocating for students.” Kushner had defeated Sutton last month on a 7-2 vote that upset some African-American community leaders.
“I just want to thank the board and Chairwoman Kushner for the recognition and the plaque,” Sutton said during board comments. “It was a bit of a surprise. But again, it was my pleasure to serve each and every one of you as well as our students, families and staff of Wake County Public Schools.”
Sutton, whose term on the board runs until 2016, had used harsher words like “ elitist” to describe his colleagues in media interviews after last month’s vote.
Board member Susan Evans, who had voted for Kushner, also thanked Sutton for his leadership. During his one-year term as chairman, voters approved an $810 million school construction bond issue, a new superintendent was hired and state legislation to shift school construction authority from the school board to the county commissioners was defeated.
“I just want to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Sutton for his leadership as chair of the board last year,” Evans said during board comments. “We certainly appreciate your time and effort. I think you showed a great deal of leadership through some very tricky legislative issues and some other things. I just want you to know it’s appreciated.”