Asheville City Association of Educators shares ACS school board endorsements

Press release from the Asheville City Association of Educators: 

For the first time, Asheville City Association of Educators (ACAE) and Buncombe County Association of Educators (BCAE) are proud to endorse applicants to the Asheville City School Board.

The deadline for submitting applications to join the school board was January 31, 2021. Sixteen Asheville residents submitted their applications. On February 12, ACAE sent information about our endorsement process to all 16 applicants. We informed applicants that, to be eligible for our endorsement, they must complete our questionnaire and join an online interview. All interviews were completed on Saturday, February 27, 2021.

Of the sixteen applicants, nine completed the process. We think it’s important to note that of the three school board candidates seeking reappointment, none chose to complete the process. Two–James Carter and Joyce Brown–wrote us nearly identical emails in which they declined to participate. One–Pat Griffin–did not respond to our questionnaire. We regret their decision not to participate, as we would have welcomed the chance to consider them. However, we are bound by our process, and they are therefore ineligible to be considered for endorsement.

The endorsement committee, consisting of eight Asheville City Association of Educators members and one Buncombe County Association of Educators member, together hold more than one hundred years of experience working for our district and have eight children who either are currently in the system or have graduated from the system. One member of the committee is herself an alumna of Asheville City Schools.

The nine candidates who completed questionnaires were uniformly thoughtful, intelligent, and passionate about student needs, and these traits also shone through during their interviews. Our endorsement decision was difficult and came after six hours of interviews and spirited discussion. Those candidates who did not receive our endorsement are committed to the success of our students and our schools, and we know they will continue their involvement in our district. All completed questionnaires, per our agreement with the applicants, are available here, and we encourage City Council and other stakeholders to read them carefully. This link also includes the emails that declined participation.

We are pleased to endorse the following three candidates:

Libby Kyles

Libby has been a dedicated teacher, leader and parent in ACS for most of her life. She has the passion, experience and expertise to be a unifying force in our district.  At the heart of her career has been an unrivaled prowess with building relationships with all stakeholders.  Libby would bring to the board fiduciary experience, knowledge of current and relevant pedagogy around how children learn, and the ability to conduct board business with transparency, enthusiasm and honesty.  

ACAE is proud to endorse Libby Kyles

Jacquelyn Carr McHargue

Jackie is a passionate and confident leader who brings with her extensive experience working for support systems and structures that enable students to feel safe and achieve greatness.  As Dean of Students at UNCA, Jackie has been successful at asking hard questions and making tough decisions that prioritize the holistic development of students.  She has strong experience reaching out to all stakeholder groups and soliciting insight and feedback that inform and shape strategic directions and planning.  With confidence, experience and ingenuity, she will pursue transparency, stability and accountability for our district and will use her skills to help develop and strengthen relationships and trust within our district. 

ACAE is proud to endorse Jacquelyn Carr McHargue. 

Pepi Acebo

Pepi’s passion for and commitment to all students, teachers and school support staff in the district has been at the forefront of his involvement in the district.  He is unafraid to use his voice in both public and private arenas to help shape decisions and work towards creating better opportunities and outcomes.  As ACS parent, PTO president, and volunteer, Pepi brings a deep institutional knowledge. He has been a consistent witness of and participant in important district discussions throughout the past five years.  His interest in education, early literacy, and early education is decades-long, and he never stops seeking facts and understandings. He will be steadfast in his quest to seek fairness, transparency, and accountability in a school system working to put the needs of all students at the forefront. 

ACAE is proud to endorse Pepi Acebo. 

These three candidates will bring overlapping and complementary skill sets to Asheville City Board of Education at a time that our district desperately needs them. We are aware that the City Council has narrowed its selection process such that two of these three endorsed candidates are excluded, but we strongly urge City Council to reconsider this decision and consider our endorsement. We also encourage members of our community to write to the City Council at and ask them to appoint these three highly-qualified candidates.

Asheville City Association of Educators is Asheville’s largest professional association of teachers, administrators, custodians, food service workers, instructional assistants, and other staff of Asheville City Schools and related charter schools. We are one of the fastest-growing local chapters of the North Carolina Association of Educators, and we represent the voices of our members and of all Asheville City School staff, working together to make stronger schools and a better community for all.

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