- Oct 22, 2022
Were one to take an inventory of Moore County’s greatest assets, the list would include FirstHealth of the Carolinas, Pinehurst Resort, Sandhills Community College, First Bank and Moore County Schools.
Choose any metric; regionally, our school district ranks either first or near the top in academic performance, athletic achievement and extracurricular opportunity. It is the reason active-duty military families, given the chance to live anywhere in this region, have chosen Moore County for their school-age children over Cumberland, Lee, Harnett or Hoke counties.
That success is no accident; it has been carefully cultivated over more than 20 years. Don’t take our word for it; ask any business leader, commander or person responsible for hiring and recruitment.
Our school district is not without challenges, not the least of which is still trying to regain ground lost from the pandemic. We have staffing issues, funding dilemmas and tough choices ahead on capital investment.
All of this makes it critical we elect smart, empathetic and creative leaders to our Board of Education. In the District 3 race this year between current Board Chairwoman Pam Thompson and challenger Shannon Davis, that choice cannot be more stark.
Davis, who lives in Carthage, is a curious choice for the Board of Education. She never attended public schools. Instead, she went to Calvary Christian School in Southern Pines, dropping out when she became pregnant as a teenager. She later achieved her adult high school diploma. She has home-schooled all three of her children, so she has no experience with public schools as a parent, either.
Davis said she was “approached” to run for the board, though she’s not specific on that. She then attended several meetings during the height of the COVID pandemic, using her time during meeting public comment periods to pray and oppose mask mandates and virtual learning.
Davis proudly calls herself a “Christian Constitutional Conservative,” though how that influences hiring sufficient teachers, choosing school construction priorities and setting a calendar is lost on us.
Davis is a genuinely warm and caring person, and she feels a calling to public office, for which we laud her. And while she says the school board should ensure teachers should be free from “onerous burdens” and be given broader latitude, she lacks an understanding of the “why” in public education simply because she’s never experienced it. This is not who we need leading Moore County Schools.
Thompson, who lives in Robbins, is completing a second term on the board. She first served from 2006-10 before being appointed to the Sandhills Community College Board of Trustees. She then replaced the retiring Charles Lambert in 2018.
Thompson has spent the past year as chairwoman of the board, a posting that has been full of challenges on an overly politicized board that has been openly combative at times to its staff, audience and each other.
And yet, Thompson has led with respect and dignity, oftentimes letting board members blather on long after making their points. Her grace has, at times, been weaponized against her, but she has attempted to rise above the barking and berating. If anything, she should have been tougher. When she has pushed back, it’s often been quietly and in private.
The District 3 seat represents northern Moore schools, and they’ve had no greater ally than Thompson. During her term, the board oversaw a $16 million expansion of North Moore High School and is pursuing gym renovations at its older elementary schools.
She also led a smooth, successful search for a new superintendent earlier this year, a process always fraught with politics.
Thompson is a demonstrated independent thinker, an empathetic listener and a creative problem solver. She is exactly who Moore County needs to help lead one of its greatest assets, and we endorse her for the Board of Education District 3 seat.