Two school board seats up for grabs this year
By: Stephan Drew, Editor
This year, when Darlington County voters go to the polls, there are many choices. Among them are a few seats on the Darlington County School Board. Leigh Anne Kelley, who represents District 1, and Thelma Dawson, who represents District 3, are running unopposed. However, Wanda Hassler, who represents District 7, and Richard Brewer of District 5, will face opposition on November 8.
Here is a little information on the candidates running in the two contested elections:
DISTRICT 7 SEAT
Jacqueline Hicks DuBose
Born in Columbia, Jacqueline moved to Hartsville over fifty years ago. She attended St. Mary’s School, Washington Street Elementary, and Southside Elementary. After graduating from Hartsville High School in 1982, she married and has four children. She resided in Florence for several years and attended Florence Darlington Technical College. Approximately six years ago, she was hired as a bus driver for the Darlington County School District and still holds that job.
Ms. DuBose said, “By allowing our teachers to teach with the passion and drive they possess, without putting so many hindrances on them, then we can see our student flourish.” DuBose is running as a Nonpartisan for the District 7 seat on the Darlington County School Board.
Jimmie Epling was born in Eastern Kentucky where Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia meet on the Ohio River. He has over 40 years of library experience in a variety of roles. Mr. Epling holds a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education in History and Economics from the University of Kentucky and a Master’s degree in Library Science from the University of South Carolina. He earned the Kentucky Certificate of Management Fundamentals (CMF) in 2007.
He began work as the Director of the Darlington County Public Library on August 1, 2012, with a focus on services, technology, and making it the relevant to the community. He has one son, Lee, who works in cybersecurity. Epling is running as a Nonpartisan for the District 7 seat on the Darlington County School Board.
Wanda Hassler was born in Rockingham, NC. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Davidson College and Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the University of NC at Chapel Hill. Hassler served in the United States Air Force from 1983-1988. Hassler and her husband Terry moved to Hartsville almost 30 years ago where they raised their four children, who all attended Darlington County Schools.
She has served on numerous boards in Darlington County, including The YMCA, The Billy Hardee Home for Boys, The Darlington County Education Foundation, St Luke United Methodist Staff Parish Relations, and President of The United Methodist Women.
Hassler is currently serving as the incumbent DCSD District #7 Board Representative and she works as a RN with South Carolina DHEC. Hassler is running for reelection to the District 7 seat on the Darlington County School Board.
DISTRICT 5 SEAT
Richard Brewer is a Navy veteran, husband of 42 years and father. After retiring from General Electric, he joined the Darlington County School Board four years ago. He considers himself a servant to his students, the teachers and the staff of the Darlington County educational system.
He said, “I wish to do my utmost to make their experience in the school system the best it can be.” Brewer is running for reelection to the District 5 seat on the Darlington County School Board.
Amanda Thompsen was born and raised in western North Carolina, attending T.C. Roberson High School in Skyland, NC, then pursued higher education at NC State University and Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta. She and her husband, who works at Sonoco, moved to Hartsville in 2003. They have two children who attended Washington Street Elementary, West Hartsville Elementary and Hartsville Middle School. Both children have chosen to attend Mayo High School.
For the last decade, Amanda has worked for a large agricultural company that supplies essential tools to our community’s farmers and farmers throughout the world. Amanda is running as a Nonpartisan for the District 7 seat on the Darlington County School Board.