Open Durham schools seat gets contender

Feb. 24, 2014 @ 07:43 PM

With just a few days left for candidates to file, a contender has stepped forward for the Durham Public Schools Board of Education seat that Fredrick Davis is leaving.

Donald Hughes, an online-advertising strategist and community activist, on Monday became the first candidate to file for the District 2 seat. Davis has said he will not seek re-election.

“I’m running for school board because I believe student achievement must be a top priority,” Hughes said in a statement. “We must do all that we can to prepare our youth for success in today’s increasingly competitive global society.”

It’s not his first bid for public office.

In 2010, Hughes unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Omega Curtis Parker in what is now District 1. He has run twice for Durham City Council, losing in 2009 and 2011.

His mother, Jackie Wagstaff, is a former Durham school board member and city councilwoman.

If elected, Hughes said supporting teachers also would be a top priority.

“I believe that supporting our teachers is as important as student achievement - our teachers are the backbone of our school system and deserve our respect,” he said.

The district also must work on ending the so-called “school-to-prison” pipeline.

 “Too many of our young people are sitting in the seats of courtrooms instead of sitting in the seats of classroom,” Hughes said. 

The filing period ends at noon on Friday. The election is scheduled for May 6.