The Johnston County Public School Board met in special session this afternoon (Wednesday) to select a replacement for Tracie Zukowski who resigned in January. Aldostin “Al” Eugene Byrd, Jr. of Clayton was selected to fill out the unexpired term and will serve through November 2022.
A total of 31 people had applied for the vacancy. The list was narrowed to six finalists including Dr. Chuck Williams, Robert O’Neal Jr., Brian Jenkins, Jeff Robison and Terry Tippett. Williams and Tippett ran unsuccessfully for school board in the Nov. 2020 elections. Tippett came in fifth place in the race for four seats with more than 40,000 votes.
In today’s meeting, school board member Ronald Johnson nominated Terry Tippett to the vacant seat. Board member Mike Wooten then nominated Al Byrd. No other nominations from the list of the six finalists advanced. In balloting between Tippett and Byrd, Mr. Tippett received one vote and Byrd five votes.
Mr. Byrd is a 1986 graduate of Smithfield Selma High School. He received a full scholarship to attend NC State University. He taught and coached in the Durham Public School system, taught adult learners at Wake Community College’s Adult High School, and worked as a program coordinator for the NCSU Educational Talent Search Program serving six middle schools and three high schools in Wilson County. Since 2013, he has served as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Life Coach to the NC State football team.
In his Statement of Interest to Johnston County Schools, Mr. Byrd wrote, “From a student in the Johnston County Public School system, to a wife formerly employed by the school system, to children attending and graduating from schools in this county, I have been directly or indirectly associated with the Johnston County Public School system for nearly 40 years. In 2016, I experienced an unforgettable life moment, when I was inducted into the Johnston County Athletic Hall of Fame.”
“Over these many years, there has been tremendous growth in our county. Due to a progressive partnership between the county commissioners, school administrators and school board members, we have seen the new construction or renovation of schools in nearly every city in our county. In addition to the construction of schools, Johnston County Public Schools has made it a priority to attract top notch administrators and educators in order to provide a top tier education for all of our school aged students,” Mr. Byrd stated in his application.
“COVID-19 has ushered in a new era of new opportunities for the Johnston County School Board. I am confident that conversation is being held pertaining to progressing during COVID-19, but also conversation surrounding how do we move forward in pursuit of supporting our teachers and students, after COVID-19.”
Mr. Byrd will assume his duties on the school board immediately.