James Ford resigns State Board of Education post to focus on equity work

By: - September 7, 2023 1:35 pm
James Ford

James Ford – Photo:

James E. Ford, one of the state’s leading voices for diversity, inclusion and equity, has resigned his post as a member of the State Board of Education.

Ford said he intends to devote more time to his nonprofit, the Charlotte-based Center for Racial Equity in Education (CREED), which focuses on race and education issues in North Carolina.

“I think five years is enough, so I’m going to take this time to focus on myself, focus on my family,” Ford said. “I have a lot of irons in the fire and now I think is my moment to take a little bit of a rest but you’ll see me as I continue doing this work [at CREED].”

Gov. Roy Cooper appointed Ford to the state board as an at-large member in October, 2018. Ford’s eight-year term would have ended in 2027. Before his state board appointment, Ford served as a board advisor after being named the North Carolina State Teacher of the Year for 2014-15.

As a member of the state board, Ford co-chaired the board’s strategic planning committee. The committee’s five-year plan embraced equity and vowed to tackle racial disparities in public education.

During the state board’s September business meeting on Thursday, Ford received a resolution in his honor and a chance to share parting observations.

“The people who are on this board are genuinely at their heart well intentioned folks who do care about the children of North Carolina,” Ford said.

Even during contentious moments, Ford said, board members work hard to reach decisions that are best for most children in the state.

Ford applauded the board’s leadership during the pandemic, which he called one of the most “disruptive periods of public education in recent memory.”

“That was tough, highly politicized — and had four kids in the system myself just trying to make it through — but we did the best that we could and I was proud to be a part of that effort,” Ford said.

State board Chairman Eric Davis said Ford has set an example for board members, educators and students across the state to “know what it means to be a North Carolinian and to stand up for what you believe, value our differences and to treat each other with respect and trust.”

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Greg Childress
Greg Childress

Education Reporter Greg Childress covers all aspects of public education in North Carolina, including debates over school funding, curricula, privatization, and teacher pay and licensing.