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New chair Egolf praises predecessor for enduring 'hardest four-year term in history'

When the Henderson County School Board voted unanimously to elect him as chair, Jay Egolf immediately launched into praise and gratitude for Blair Craven, who relinquished the gavel after four years.

“With Covid going on, this audience was filled, we had, how many, four police officers?" said Egolf, who was the top vote-getter when he won re-election to the board in 2022. "After every meeting, I went up to Blair and told him, ‘Good job,’ because these were the hardest times for the public school system to go through. So he really did — he earned his stripes. These last four years have been harder than any other four-year term in history. So thank you very much for all that you've done."

Craven was elected chair in December 2029, three months before the global pandemic shut down schools and ushered in three years of turmoil, parental blowback and schoolwide anxiety.

“As we all know, March of 2020 happened and everything kind of flipped on its head," Craven said. "I saw a lot of good in the community, I  saw a lot of ugly — a lot of ugly — and through it all I tried to be the best leader that I could for this particular board and tried to put all of that stuff aside that was sent to me and emailed and texted or written. But it was hard on my family. It was really tough, especially on my wife, so I give a shout out to her and to my kids who had put out to put up with it and in all my shenanigans.”

The board also Kathy Revis as vice chair during its regular meeting. Egolf is challenging County Commissioner David Hill for the District 2 seat; the two will face off in the March 5 Republican primary. Craven chose not to run for re-election next year. Ten candidates have signed up to run for the four seats that are up in the now-partisan 2024 election — six Republicans and four Democrats.