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Parent-power, GOP palm-card candidates sweep School Board seats

Henderson County School Board incumbent Jay Egolf on Tuesday night led a pack of nine candidates for three open seats on the board, according to unofficial results from the state board of elections.

With all 35 precincts reporting, Egolf won 24,017 votes (20.57 percent) of the vote. Alyssa Norman finished second with 18,971 votes (16.25 percent) of the vote followed by Shelia Dale with 16,970 votes (14.53 percent). The result unseated incumbent Dot Case. Vice Chair Amy Lynn Holt did not stand for re-election.

In Egolf, Norman and Dale, voters put aboard three candidates who strongly support parental rights and parental input on classroom curriculum. All three also opposed school shutdowns and remote learning during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. School policies during the pandemic, Dale declared, had made schools "a war zone of hostility and blame for the spread of Covid" and described masking of children as "barbaric in nature and cruel punishment."

The three successful candidates, all registered Republicans, were endorsed on GOP palm cards that volunteers handed out at polling places during early voting and at precincts on Election Day. The newly elected School Board members will be sworn at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, in the Board of Commissioners meeting room at the Historic Courthouse.

Egolf and Norman commented to the Lightning about their victories via text messages.

"I am humbled by the faith the voters of Henderson County have placed in me," Egolf said. "I look forward to working together as we continue to support our administration, teachers and staff as we strive to do the very best for the children of Henderson County."

Norman also thanked her supporters.
“I want to thank everyone that supported me and all of the voters for putting their confidence in me,” she said. “I look forward to serving the students, families and educators of Henderson County.”

Attempts to reach Dale were unsuccessful Tuesday night. 
Egolf, 52, is owner/partner of Egolf Ford, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram in Brevard. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children who have been or are currently enrolled in the public schools here. Residents of Laurel Park, Egolf has have resided in Henderson County since 1972.
In response to questions during the campaign, Egolf said he wanted another term on the board to continue his work supporting school children in the county.
“I’m fully vested in the education of Henderson County children," he said. "I personally attended Henderson County public schools for 13 years, our three children attend/have attended HCPS since 2008 and I’ve been a board member since 2018. With some overlap, that’s 27 years of experience with HCPS,” he said. “I’m passionate about the children of HCPS and want to continue to work for them. I also have personal relationships with members of Hendersonville City Council, Board of Commissioners and other municipalities. This is helpful with the communication that occurs to continuously improve our public schools."

Egolf on remote learning

During the Covid-19 pandemic Egolf in January 2021 expressed concerned about the impact closing schools had on children.
“Data from K-12 schools that reopened for in-person instruction in the fall show little evidence that schools contributed meaningfully to the spread of Covid-19, according to a new article published Tuesday in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association,” he said at the time. “Meanwhile, evidence mounts of the social, emotional and academic toll remote learning has taken on children, especially in already vulnerable, low-income communities.”

'Education, not indoctrination,' Norman says

A native of Henderson County, Norman, the daughter of County Commissioner Daniel Andreotta, says on her website that she comes from a public service family. She is a graduate of Henderson County schools, a registered nurse and the mother of two children who attend public schools.
Her platform on the website addresses school funding, curriculum and parents’ role. The website says she wants to be a good steward of tax dollars.
“I feel our students are the leaders of tomorrow. They deserve an education, not an indoctrination,” she said. “The roles parents play should never be in jeopardy. Parents should always make decisions for their children.”

Dale: 'When did parents become voiceless?'

Dale, who has lived in Henderson County for 55 years and owns a business here, has children and grandchildren who graduated from or are attending schools in the county, according to her candidate website.
“We are very proud of the community that we live in. I am a Spirit-filled Believer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am also a strong believer in the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights,” she says on the website. She poses numerous questions, including:
• "When did it become a normal school agenda to focus on sexuality instead of math, reading and writing? (Beginning at 3 yrs. of age for these little ones who are just learning ABCs & 123s) *The CDC lowered the bar (2022) of grade-level testing. WHAT?! (When did the CDC gain that ability?)
• "When did the parents of children become voiceless and not necessarily in their child’s education and safety while at school?
• "When did protecting the bully or predator supersede the rights of the victim?
• "When did the schools become 'immune' to lawsuits of any kind for providing and promoting pornographic books and education to “our” children?
• "When did a school become a war zone of hostility and blame for the spread of Covid?"
• "When did masking our children like slaves and animals, which is barbaric in nature and cruel punishment, under the “lie” they are super-spreaders of Covid; deeming the children responsible for others getting sick or dying?
• "When did it become a good idea to teach Social Emotional Learning (SEL) to every student? Which is a part of Critical Race Theory.
• "When did the CRT, an agenda teaching children their skin color determines if they are an 'oppressed' race, or the 'oppressing' race, become okay?"

"These are just a few of the overwhelming evils taking place in the lives of our children on a national level."