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00000177-efb4-dee4-afff-efbec5b90000Click here for voting information on polling places, voter registration, and more. To meet the people who want to represent you, click on the “live” links below for feature pieces on contested races. New features are posted weekly and all reporting will be posted by March 1st. HQR News 91.3 FM...For complete Election 2020 News and Coverage. Results Primary 2020 Results: Ted Davis, Jr. Wins In District 20 House ContestPrimary 2020 Results: Race For New Hanover County Commissioners Down To Three From Each PartyPrimary 2020 Results: The Race For NC House District 19Two Incumbents Out, One Remains in 2020 Brunswick County PrimariesChristopher Ward Wins 7th Congressional District Democratic Primary, Will Challenge Rouzer Coverage from CoastLine: CoastLine: Primary 2020 Results Bring November into FocusCoastLine: Primary 2020 Preview - Races, Issues, Candidates with PCDWHQR Talks With Port City Daily's Ben Schachtman on Local Issues and Upcoming Primaries*Any inquries about 2020 Primary Election Coverage can be addressed to Rachel Keith at rkeith@whqr.org. Reporter Coverage: US House District 7 - DRobert Colon Mark JudsonChristopher M. Ward NC House District 19 - R Charlie MillerDavid A. Perry NC House District 19 - D James Dawkins, Jr. Marcia MorganNC House District 20 - R Ted Davis, Jr. Justin LaNasaNHC Commissioner - D Jonathan Barfield, Jr. Don Betz Leslie CohenKyle HortonSteve Miller Travis Robinson NHC Commissioner - R Deb Hays Joe IrreraHarry KnightJohn Lyon Frank Christopher MearesRicky Meeks Matt Rhodes Bill Rivenbark Skip Watkins NHC Board of Education - RJanice CavenaughFrederick Fisher Stephanie KraybillPete Wildeboer BC Commissioner District 3 -R Pat Sykes Jeff WinecoffBC Board of Education District 2 - R Catherine D. Cooke David M. Robinson BC Board of Education District 4 - RShirley C. Babson Steven Barger Ellen G. Milligan

Primary 2020: NHC Board of Education Candidates on School Safety

Graphic, Katelyn Freund; Images Provided by Candidates
Kraybill and Wildeboer are Republicans running for New Hanover County Board of Education, along with Frederick Fisher and Janice Cavenaugh.

With New Hanover County Schools embroiled in controversy, four Republicans are seeking seats on the county’s Board of Education. None are currently serving on the board. WHQR spoke with two of them about how they think they can move the school system in the right direction.

Pete Wildeboer and Stephanie Kraybill both have one top priority:


“[...]student safety.”

In the past few years, New Hanover County Schools has seen multiple allegations of sexual abuse by teachers against children. And recent allegations against Roland-Grise band teacher Peter Frank have made student safety the number one issue among parents. 

Wildeboer and Kraybill both say the school system needs to be reformed. Wildeboer is a former teacher and principal, and has a threefold plan to increase safety, and restore trust in the community. His first initiative?

“I think that every allegation needs to be investigated. Obviously, these three allegations and situations we know about at this point need to be thoroughly investigated by an outside agency, not the school system itself.”


To do that, he wants to implement a collaborative investigative team led by the police or sheriff’s department. 

“I also think the county safety officer might be another vital part of that. So someone from inside, someone from outside, pairing up together so there's not anything done behind closed doors.”

Wildeboer also thinks the school system needs more faculty training, to review all school expectations, laws, and consequences. And he wants new policies to be implemented to hold administrators more accountable.

“When I was a principal, I was in and out of classrooms all the time. And I think that’s the vital part, we need to instruct our administrators to do walkthroughs on a regular basis and to log them, so that if there is anything going on, they can't say, ‘Well, I didn't know.’” 

Stephanie Kraybill, who serves on the school system’s Crisis Management Team, thinks board members need to be more present in classrooms as well. 

“I do think that board members need to be in the school a little more often than they are. They need to be talking to the principals, seeing some of the plans in action.”

But Kraybill says her main focus is ensuring that current policies and procedures -- like updating personnel files -- are followed. Her plan to enforce that?

“Well the one thing is, the board can only do so much because basically our only jobs are to hire and fire the superintendent and to set board policy. So the board would be looking to the superintendent and his assistant superintendent to, I'm thinking, give more regular reports.”

Kraybill says the board is going to be using the State School Boards Association to revamp its policies, which will make this process easier. She also thinks the school system is in need of more support staff -- including teachers, mental health interventionists, custodians, and bus drivers. And, while she says she can only do so much as an individual person -- she has one last goal:

“[...]make sure that Dave Spencer, who is Director of Safety of New Hanover County Schools, does give regular reports to all the principals and to the Board of Education so that we would be clear on what's going on.”

In addition to Kraybill and Wildeboer, two other Republicans -- Frederick Fisher and previous board member Janice Cavenaugh -- are also running for the New Hanover County Board of Education. WHQR could not reach Fisher, and Cavenaugh did not show up for her scheduled interview. 

The current Republican board incumbents -- chair Lisa Estep, and members David Wortman and Jeannette Nichols -- are not seeking re-election.


Hannah is WHQR's All Things Considered host, and also reports on science, the environment, and climate change. She enjoys loud music, documentaries, and stargazing; and is the proud mother of three cats, a dog, and many, many houseplants. Contact her via email at hbreisinger@whqr.org, or on Twitter @hbreisinger.