Boatright is chairman

Duward Boatright

Duward Boatright will be the new chairman of the Pierce County Board of Education.

Boatright was named as chairman of the school board by his fellow board members at a called meeting Monday morning, August 24.

First district board member Jack Saussy put Boatright’s name in nomination for the position.

“There is no one more qualified (for the job) than Duward,” he said.

Second district board member Mitch Hall made the second and agreed with Saussy’s comment.

“This is the best decision we can make. He is our most senior member on the board and he will do a fine job,” Hall said.

Third district Chip Griner also expressed his confidence in Boatright and all three voted in favor of the motion.

Boatright, vice chairman of the board, had been acting as chairman following the resignation of former board chair Linda Zechmann.

Zechmann resigned effective Friday, August 14. She and her husband have since relocated to South Carolina.

First elected to represent district four in 2006, Boatright was currently in the middle of his fourth term and is the most senior board member. He submitted his resignation to Governor Brian Kemp as district 4 board member Friday evening. The resignation was effective at 7 a.m. Monday. According to law, Boatright had to resign the district 4 seat to be eligible for appointment as chairman.

Boatright’s appointment creates a vacancy in the district four seat he now holds, meaning the board will need to fill that opening.

School board attorney C. Deen Strickland explained last week that local board members will choose Zechmann’s successor to serve until the next general nonpartisan school board election. The procedure outlining the process for filling a vacancy is included in the 1982 law in the Georgia Code creating the Pierce County Board of Education.

The board has 45 days from the date of the resignation to fill any vacancy. If it does not do so, Governor Brian Kemp could appoint Boatright’s successor.

Zechmann’s resignation comes in the last two years of her term, meaning that, by law, Boatright, and whoever the board appoints to the district four seat, will both serve until the next regularly scheduled nonpartisan school board election. The next nonpartisan school board election will be held in the summer of 2022.

In other business at Monday’s called meeting, the board:

• approved setting the millage rate for 2021 at 16.272 mills, which is the same as last year.

• adjourned into a six minute closed session to discuss personnel. Following the session, the board voted to hire Joyce Varnadore as a special education paraprofessional at Blackshear Elementary and accepted the resignation of Randall Fraley as a bus driver.