Wake County school board member Susan Evans has turned to a leader of the Great Schools in Wake Coalition to be one of her District 8 Board Advisory Council chairs.
Evans nominated Patty Williams, the communications director for Great Schools, on Monday to be one of the two BAC co-chairs. Williams was appointed in December to the BAC, which acts as sounding boards for board members.
The appointment comes after the controversy last week about the involvement of Evans and fellow board member Christine Kushner with Great Schools.
You had Superintendent Tony Tata's emails to the board members and their responses saying they weren't actively involved with Great Schools. Then you had Tata's statement questioning whether ethics violations may have occurred.
The state NAACP jumped into the picture on Thursday when the Rev. William Barber sent out an open letter that criticized Tata and praised Great Schools. Barber charged that in criticizing Great Schools, Tata "also attacked the teachers, parents, and children to whom this organization devotes itself."
"Putting in thousands of volunteer hours, GSIW was a critical partner in the black-white-brown coalition that came together to stop efforts by the extreme right wing movement that used Wake County students as pawns in an ideological crusade," Barber also said in the statement.
Then you had the joint statement from the school system on Friday:
"Board members Susan Evans and Christine Kushner; Board Chair, Kevin Hill; Superintendent Tony Tata; and Board attorney, Ann Majestic met today and had a serious, frank, and constructive conversation to discuss events of the past week. We all agreed that Ms. Evans and Ms. Kushner have not violated any ethical rules or principles in their work as board members. Mr. Tata has apologized to these board members for suggesting otherwise and has acknowledged that he should have handled his concerns in a different manner. We recognize the importance of a positive working relationship between the Board and the Superintendent and are all committed to working together on behalf of our students and our community."
Allison Backhouse weighed in on the issue on Saturday in a blog post in which she defended Tata and criticized Evans. Backhouse cites different instances where she charges Evans has lied. She also points to the award that both board members accepted on Great Schools' behalf last month.
"So pardon me if I don't believe the 'Just take our word for it' approach about their involvement in GSIW," Backhouse writes. "Actions speak much louder than words -- especially when there's an award involved."
Backhouse is a former District 8 BAC co-chair and was chair of former school board chairman Ron Margiotta's re-election campaign.