Al Byrd Appointed To School Board

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. 

Johnston County Public Schools Board Chairman Todd Sutton announces the selection of Al Byrd of Clayton to the JCPS Board during a March 3, 2021 meeting. (Screenshot)

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.”

Al Byrd answers questions from the JCPS Board during March 1, 2021 candidate interviews of the six finalists. (Screenshot)

“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. 


  1. “Rules for thee, not for me.” Todd Sutton

    Of course the board got who they wanted. Doesn’t matter what the people said. I don’t even like Tippett but he should have gotten that seat.

    But us peasants aren’t allowed to tell the board what to do. We shut the f**k up, pay them our taxes, and “trust” them with our kids. What are you gonna do? B*t*h and moan in that three minute window they call public comments? They do that for show. They don’t listen to you.

  2. There is a meeting of the Johnston County GOP tomorrow evening at 6:30 pm. I hope members of the school board attend to speak with some of their constituents. I have nothing against Mr. Byrd, it just seems that Mr. Tippett is the rightful person who should have filled the position. Mr. Sutton has some explaining to do.

    • Congratulations Al!!
      Some have rated you unqualified. Some stated your race got you the position. What they don’t understand is that the move was done by God. Much prayer and fasting has gone into this position. Your desire was strictly the will of God. You even asked prayer warriors to pray only “the will of God”. If it was not “God’s will” you wanted God to close the door.
      It is evident that God chose you for this assignment. Man will never understand the hand of God and the shifts it can make. God will take whom some consider unqualified and inexperienced and set them up to change a nation and a people. Remember Moses and David?
      Some will say Religion has nothing to do with this. I agree religion does not have anything to do with this, because God isn’t religious. He is just God and does whatever He wants.
      God has chosen you Al for such a time as this. We salute you.
      You are a man of great character and integrity. Who just happens to be black. All are watching to see God work through you to help bless the students and faculty of Johnston County.
      We pray the wisdom of God and the compassion of Christ lead you through this assignment. Serve Christ with dignity and serve this county with the same compassion. Congratulations to you!

  3. I know this is not politically correct… but, We (people in JoCo education) knew that our next superintendent would not be white when Renfrow was sent packing. It was just a fact.
    And it was obvious that the next board member would not be white. If Tippet was black, then he would have easily been the person selected, especially since he had the next highest votes in the election. BUT.., Tippett didn’t match what the board was looking for. The board’s agenda was race, not qualification. The same thing happened in selecting the superintendent… race was more of a determining factor than qualification.
    I am NOT saying that Bracy or Byrd are not qualified.! I am simply saying that race played a major factor in them being selected.

    • As a black man, I 100% agree. This whole board is all about race, playing the white knights to us “poor ol’ minorities”. But they put on a good show but they don’t do sh*t. I mean, what has that equity office done since it was created about two years ago? Not a da*n thing.

    • I have met Al Byrd and have friends that are really close with Al. I know him to be an intelligent, fair, honest dedicated man of God with great integrity. Very level headed. I think he is a good choice. As far as race playing a factor, I have no opinion and I am a white male.

  4. Princeton folks do you see what you have in Mike Wooten now, a total far left regressive socialist/communist Democrat. These folks actually think that the socialist/communist think tanks that are telling them to put minorities in these seats and they want get the same criticism are dead wrong. Talking about using the race card Mike Wooten you did your self a eye opening coming out party and we do appreciate your honesty. Then we have Todd Sutton at a tender young age was needing a family to adopt him when he was abandoned, then reaching a legal age he changed his name back to the family that had no need for him and abandoned him. This is what you parents have shaping your children young minds and I am so thankful my child is not there. I would love to have a minority on this board that was not for a guy being a transgender and breaking all the girls athletic records. Where are you at on this Mike Wooten?

  5. The only fix for this behavior is at the ballot box. There needs to be an organized effort to make sure Sutton and Sessoms are thoroughly defeated in 2022. It’s obvious that Carroll, Wooten, Sessoms, and Andrews are just doing whatever Sutton tells them. The fact that they just ignore the will of the voters in this county shows a lack of respect for all of our citizens.

  6. Welcome to the sh*t show Mr. Byrd! I still feel Tippett should have gotten that seat hands down. I believe Sutton is scared of Tippett. I loved Tippetts interview though. He told it like it was. He told the board, “I know there are members on the board who do not want me here” LOVE IT! I am sure this whole issue is far from over. I am looking for something to come up/out to make Sutton step down…. We can only hope!!!

  7. Wrong on so many levels ….. I’m totally ashamed to say my granddaughter is in this school system!

  8. Congratulations Al for being appointed to your seat! Now that the gloves are off in some of the comments. I hope that you find success with the help of Mike Wooten. I’m sure you guys leadership will prevail the hostilities the school board will encounter and make the right decisions for the kids and community.

  9. Congratulations to Al Byrd for his appointment! Now that the gloves are off in some of the comments. I hope that you find success moving forward. With the help of Mike Wooten, I’m sure you guy’s leadership will prevail over the hostilities and the obstacles the school board will encounter, and make the right decisions for the kids and community.

  10. This decision was so disappointing. Mr. Byrd seems like a nice man, but he was elected for the wrong reasons. His interview told us all we needed to know. He has no vision, no plans, no clue what the job entailed. He admitted he couldn’t answer most questions. He didn’t even understand the relationship between BOE members and the Superintendent? He said he wanted the school system to continue heading in the direction it was going??? Sadly, JCPS has been heading in a downward direction for a while?? Our BOE’s priorities are wrong, Our school employees, teachers and students are being overlooked while BOE friends working in central office get 17% raises?? I saw a teacher with a go-fund-me for a computer because she couldn’t adequately teach with the supplied chromebook. students are still struggling. Maybe, rather than handing out raises we could help finance tutors? It’s totally inexcusable that 5 “representatives” decided their personal, self serving agenda’s mattered more than out votes. In Mr. Byrd’s interview, he said he wanted to listen to the people. If that is true, he should resign and pass the job to the next highest vote getter. Mr. Byrd said he wanted to best individual for the position. All he has to do is watch the interviews and he will learn that he was not the best prepared, most knowledgeable candidate to help our students/ These shameless BOE members had the power to do what they did. We can’t change that now. However, if we REMEMBER and hold them accountable … we can make sure none of them never hold office again. Mr. Byrd was undeservingly GIFTED this position for the wrong reasons. I don’t think he was the best candidate for the job. I pray he will prove me wrong. I pray he will stand up for the students & educators, beside Ronald Johnson, fighting for what’s right … fighting for our kids!! Praying he will be a man of honor rather than a good team player who goes along to get along … replaying these board members for their generosity at the expense of our children.

    • I did not watch the interviews….( I refuse to watch any board meetings because they make me so mad) but I heard that Mr Byrd CLEARLY had no clue what the job was about and was not able to answer the majority of the questions. I also heard that Chuck Williams had the best interview of all. So, if every single teacher that I know said that Mr Williams had the best interview…. shouldn’t the BOE have a similar view??? Wouldn’t a large group of teachers be the best judge?!? If teachers said Chuck was the best and Tippett was the second best.., how in the WORLD did Byrd get the job??🤔. But sadly… it doesn’t surprise me. I have been a teacher for over 20 yrs and half of it has been in JoCo. JoCo is a highly dysfunctional system and it continues to go in a very steep downward spiral.
      The teacher retention rate is going to get worse and worse. Teachers with near 30 yrs will retire early…., teachers with less than 5 yrs will get out of education all together and all the teachers in between will go to a different school system or go to a private school.! I personally am looking at every possible alternative to teaching another year in JoCo.
      I sure hope some of the people on the BOE read this….!!!! YOUR ARE LITERALLY KILLING JOCO EDUCATION!!!

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