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Gaston County school board filing ends with three uncontested races

Gaston Schools building.png
WFAE
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Ann Doss Helms

Filing for five seats on the Gaston County school board closed Friday with 10 candidates on the ballot.

Two incumbents, Dot Cherry and Lee Dedmon, and one newcomer, A.M. Stephens III, will be unopposed on the November ballot.

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Gaston County school board candidate A.M. Stephens III

Stephens was the only person who filed for the northeastern Riverbend Township seat. Kevin Collier has represented that township since 1998 and did not file to run.

On his campaign website, Stephens says he has three children in Gaston County Schools and can trace his Gaston County roots back to the late 1700s. "He is the proud product of a public education and a conservative upbringing," the site says. "He is committed to being a loud voice of reason when the unreasonable try and rail against common sense."

Cherry and Dedmon have each served eight years on the board. Cherry, the board's vice chair, lives in Gastonia and holds an at-large seat. Dedmon represents Gastonia Township.

All Gaston school board members are elected countywide. The district system simply ensures that each of the county’s six townships will have at least one representative who lives there.

Two contested races

In the southeastern South Point Township, where incumbent Justin Davis isn't running, five people are on the ballot: Joe Green, Michelle Hughes, Tod Kinlaw, Nate Seedorf and Lisa Smith.

Little information about them was immediately available. Kinlaw has a campaign Facebook page that says he's running to prevent wasteful spending.

In the north-central Dallas Township race, Glenn Bratton and Josh Crisp are competing for the seat being vacated by incumbent Steve Hall.

Bratton's campaign website says he's a retired Gaston County police officer who has worked as a DARE officer and school resource officer at Ashbrook High. He was also a security compliance manager for Gaston County Schools.

Crisp's campaign site says he's a firefighter and EMT who works as director of Gaston College's Regional Emergency Services Training Center. It says he is a product of Gaston County Schools and has children in the system.

The race is nonpartisan and terms are four years. The board has nine members, with the next elections in 2024.

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Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.