8 eligible candidates submit applications for vacant Board of Education seat

Selection to be made, announced Thursday

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PITTSBORO — The Chatham County Schools Board of Education has received applications from eight eligible candidates who wish to serve in the District 1 seat vacated by Melissa Hlavac last month.

Pursuant to school board policy 2115 and North Carolina General Statute 115C-37(f), the four sitting Board of Education members will interview the candidates beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6, in the multipurpose room at George Moses Horton Middle School. Candidates will be interviewed individually. The Oct. 6 meeting is open to the public.

The board plans to announce its choice to fill the vacancy Thursday and swear in the new member at its regular meeting Oct. 10. The person selected to serve will be on the board until 2024, when the seat will be up for election. He or she may choose whether to run at that time.

The News + Record will announce the selection at chathamnewsrecord.com and on the newspaper’s social media platforms.

Applicants for the District 1 seat are:

• Stanley Beeks, who most recently retired as deputy general director from a company that provides products and services in the fields of cryptography, eTravel documents, cyber security and artificial intelligence and is a former U.S. Marine, received his Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Wilmington University and his Executive MBA from the University of Delaware.

• Julie Bridenstine, a post-conviction staff attorney who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and Jurius Doctor from the University of Colorado School of Law.

• Henry Calderon, founder and CEO of a technology device company who has a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Framingham State College and who attended the U.S. Army Air Traffic Control Academy.

• Chris Fields, a regulatory reporting analyst at a financial services provider who has a Bachelor Degree in International Studies with a minor in Social and Economic Justice from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Accounting from the Kenan-Flager Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

• Deborah Hittel, a senior manager with a public health protection organization who received her Bachelor of Arts as a Double Major at Indiana University, did an international study abroad with the University of Kent-Canterbury and has Postgraduate Business Studies from Indiana University Kelly School of Business.

• Dustin Miller, a marketing consultant for Amazon product companies and Chatham County- and Chapel Hill-based businesses who received a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Business Administration from the Bryan School of Business at UNC-Greensboro.

• Leslie Strohm, a higher education consultant on legal and governance issues who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from DePauw University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School.

• Timothy Winters, a Six Sigma Master Black Belt who works at a construction equipment manufacturer, has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University, a Master of Science in Engineering from Purdue University and a Master of Business Administration from Kenan-Flagler Business School from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Two other candidates applied and then withdrew. They were Dana Gillispie, a licensed clinical social worker who works in private practice as a psychotherapist/clinical consultant, and Tracy Jordan, a fabric/interior designer and substitute preschool teacher.

Hlavac, in announcing her resignation, cited a need to devote more time to personal and professional endeavors. Her resignation was effective immediately.

“I feel honored and privileged to have served on the Chatham County Schools Board of Education for nearly eight years,” she said. “We’ve worked hard, navigated challenging decisions, and treated each other with respect, all while not betraying our deepest values. I’m proud of our board for its collective accomplishments on behalf of CCS as well as its steadfast support for our students, teachers, staff and administrators.”

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