Under the Dome

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes at DPI and state school board

Today might have been Bill Harrison's last day as chairman of the State Board of Education. The people who know for sure aren't saying.

Former Gov. Bev Perdue named Harrison to run the board in 2009, but his term expired last year. Senate Republican leaders declined last session to reappoint board members whose terms had expired or make new appointments so the new governor could put in people he wanted.

Ricky Diaz, Gov. Pat McCrory's spokesman, said a few days ago he did not know when the announcement of a new chairman was coming. Harrison said this week he hadn't heard from McCrory when he'd be replaced.

"Let's just say I'm packing,'" Harrison quipped.

Harrison gave what sounded like a good-bye speech at the end of Thursday's meeting, thanking staff for their hard work, the board for its leadership, and state Superintendent June Atkinson for her leadership, and talking about how much progress has been made in the last 10 years.

"It's delightful to have a chance to work with each of you," he said.

While Harrison has his toes on the threshold of the exit door, someone new has stepped in.

The state Department of Public Instruction has a new lobbyist, Rachel Beaulieu, who replaces Ann McColl, whose now working for the N.C. Association of Educators.

Before coming to DPI, Beaulieu worked with the N.C. Association of School Administrators. Before that, she was a litigator in a Raleigh law firm. Her official title is director of legislative and community relations.

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