By Floyd Ingram/Chickasaw Journal
HOUSTON – The Houston Board of Alderman has tabled a vote on naming a new Houston School District Trustee after a split 2-2 vote last week.
Dist. 2 Alderman Shenia Jones nominated Joe Orr for the trustee seat and was seconded by Dist. 4 Alderman Willie Mae McKinney. Dist. 1 Alderman Tony Uhiren and Dist. 3 Alderman Frank Thomas voted against it. Alderman-At-Large Barry Springer was absent from Tuesday’s meeting, prompting the stalemate.
“I feel Barry needs to be involved in this,” said Mayor Stacey Parker. “I am going to ask for a motion to postpone this vote until Barry is here.”
Jones and McKinney agreed and were supported by Uhiren and Thomas.
Orr is a 20-year resident of Houston and is employed by the Kansas City Southern Railways. He is a retired Army Reserve Master Sergeant and served as the city’s appointment to the Houston School Board in 2008.
Others who have submitted letters asking to be appointed to the Houston School Board are:
• Jonathan Blane “T-Bird” Arledge. Arledge is a life-long Chickasaw County native, an employee of Prestage Farms, and a member of Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church in Woodland. He has two grown children and also has two grandchildren at Houston Middle School.
• Thomas Howell. A Houston High School graduate, Howell is the Executive Officer of a battalion in the Mississippi Army National Guard. He is also a graduate of Mississippi State University with a degree in Business Administration. Howell is currently working on his Master’s Degree.
• Dr. Tommy J. Skelton. Skelton is the owner and chief instructor of the Sho Kon Ryu Martial Art Academy and operates Mississippi Adonai Sports Ministries. He is a 20-year resident of Houston and a long-term substitute teacher with the district. Skelton holds a Ph.D in Comparative Religion and Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Environmental Health and Safety.
Houston resident Kevin Faulkner initially asked the city to consider him for the post but later withdrew his name from consideration.
The city’s appointment has been prompted by the resignation of At-Large Houston School District Board Member Zack Huffman who tendered his resignation March 7 and will step down June 30.
Huffman was elected without opposition in 2011 to take the place of At-Large Trustee Gary Washington who chose not to run for the post. Huffman’s term will expire in 2016.
Qualified voters of the Houston At-Large school district have been asked to contact the Central Office for details about the school board election. The district sought direction from the Attorney General and has determined the city can appoint a trustee to fill out the vacated post. The city’s appointment will serve until elections can be held in 2016.
Huffman’s resignation was prompted by his acceptance of a job serving students in the Mississippi Delta this summer as a member of Teach For America.