A moment of silence for former school board attorney

Aug. 19, 2014 @ 02:29 PM

The school board observed a moment of silence Monday for longtime board attorney Ann Majestic who died on Aug. 16 after a battle with breast cancer.

Mrs. Majestic, an education-law expert and partner in the Raleigh-based law firm of Tharrington Smith, was 61.

Services will be held for Majestic today at 3 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 305 E. Main St.

Those who knew her said Majestic was committed to improving education for North Carolina’s schoolchildren over the course of her long and distinguished career.

“I’ve always admired Ann,” said school board member Leigh Bordley, who asked for the moment of silence. “We benefitted in so many ways from her legal counsel, historical perspective and the love she had for education.”

As a new school board member in 2008, Mrs. Bordley said that she was especially grateful for Mrs. Majestic’s mastery of education law and the historical perspective she brought to the job that gave school board members context for the decisions they made.

While Mrs. Bordley and Mrs. Majestic lived in the same neighborhood, Mrs. Bordley said she first met Mrs. Majestic as a Durham Public Schools’ parent.

School board Chairwoman Heidi Carter said Mrs. Majestic was known as one of the best education lawyers in the nation.

“That’s why we valued her counsel so highly,” Mrs. Carter said. “She approached her work with Durham Public Schools with such extraordinary care. We were her community and she sent her children to our schools.”

Mrs. Carter noted that Mrs. Majestic was still engaged during her battle with cancer and continued to offer advice and counseling whenever the board needed it.

She said Mrs. Majestic was a big help to the board during recent challenges, including the board’s parting of the ways with former Superintendent Eric Becoats.

Mrs. Carter said board members often took meals to Mrs. Majestic during her illness and spent time talking and visiting with her when her health allowed them to do so.

She said Mrs. Majestic often talked about her family.

“Ann really had a zest for life, loved her family and was especially proud of her grandson,” Mrs. Carter said.

Mrs. Majestic, a Duke University graduate who also earned a master’s in education and a law degree from Duke, also represented several other school boards over the course of her career, including boards in Wake, Orange, Alamance-Burlington and Moore school systems.

She is survived by her husband, Hank, two adult children and a grandson.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Ann Majestic Memorial, Sarah B. Duke Gardens, c/o Teresa Dark, Box 90341, Durham, NC 27708.