Former Wake County school board member Cliffornia Wimberley was remembered this week as a pioneer and African-American community leader who helped bring about the merger of the Wake and Raleigh City school systems.
Wimberley, 85, who died Nov. 22, served on the Raleigh school board and later the Wake County school board from 1973 to 1977. She was praised at this week’s school board meeting as a “gentle giant” and an inspiration to others.
“As a school board member, she worked tirelessly and courageously to bring about a successful merger of the Raleigh City Schools and Wake County Schools – of which we still reap the benefits of to this day,” said Wake school board member Keith Sutton. “But what she was equally proud of was the fact that she helped usher in change, and provided leadership in doing so as a woman.”
The 1973 election of Wimberley and Vernon Malone to the Raleigh school board in 1973 marked the first time that two African-Americans served on the board at the same time. It wouldn’t be until 2013 when Sutton and Monika Johnson-Hostler were elected that two African-American school board members again served on the Wake school board at the same time.
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“She was even discouraged by some not to run so that she didn’t pull away votes from her colleague at that time, Vernon Malone,” Sutton said. “But she ran anyway, and they both made history, and of this she was most proud.”
Durham’s next chief
Durham residents have two options to provide input on what kind of police chief they would like the city to hire to replace Jose Lopez.
Residents can attend a public forum and provide input directly to Development Associates, the agency hired to assist the city in the search. The first forum will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 14 at Holton Career and Resource Center, 401 N. Driver St. A second forum for Spanish speakers will be held at 5:45 p.m. on Dec. 15 at El Centro Hispano, 600 E. Main St.
Residents can also provide feedback by visiting nando.com/search, a website created to collect input.
City Manager Tom Bonfield has said the recruitment process is expected to take four months and that he hopes to make an offer in early April.
The Apex Town Council took little time in making changes after being sworn in Tuesday.
It started when council member Denise Wilkie nominated Nicole Dozier to replace Gene Schulze as mayor pro tem. Wilkie said Dozier has shown initiative by creating the Think Apex campaign and by strongly supporting environmental issues and senior citizens. Wilkie said the nomination also was inspired by “the need for our young girls in Apex to see a woman in a leadership role.”
Jensen urged Dozier to accept. But Dozier indicated she didn’t want to butt heads with Schulze.
“If it makes you feel any better, I support it,” Schulze said.
There were no other nominations, and Dozier was named mayor pro tem. After the meeting, Schulze said he had no hard feelings and expected to lose the position because of the council’s shift in philosophy on growth.
Oaths of office
There are at least two more swearing-in ceremonies next week for those elected in November.
The Cary Town Council will hold its oath of office ceremony in Town Hall on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht will begin his third term, while incumbents Don Frantz in District B and at-large member Lori Bush rejoin the board. Frantz is entering his third term, while Bush will start a second.
The one new member will be Ken George, founder and president of NetSmart Inc., who will fill the District D seat that has been vacant for nearly a year. He defeated three other candidates and encountered a runoff.
Meanwhile, Morrisville will have one newcomer joining the board during the swearing-in Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. Satish Garimella beat former board member Pete Martin for an open seat on the council, while incumbents Liz Johnson and Michael Schlink won re-election.
Compiled by T. Keung Hui, Virginia Bridges, Will Doran and Kathryn Trogdon.
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