New school board member Zora Felton sworn in by former student Judge Paul Ridgeway

sbarr@newsobserver.comDecember 6, 2013 

— Paul Ridgeway was in 10th grade at Sanderson High School when his social studies teacher Zora Felton suggested he run for a position on the student council.

It was the beginning of a career that eventually landed him a position as a Wake County Superior Court judge.

“Thus she receives credit, for better or for worse, for starting my career in elected office,” said Ridgeway, who graduated from Sanderson in 1978.

Last week, Ridgeway administered the oath of office as Felton launched her own career as an elected official, as a member of the Wake County School Board.

Felton, who retired in June, beat out incumbent Deborah Prickett for the school board’s District 7 seat. The district includes West Raleigh and Morrisville.

When Felton ran into Ridgeway at an event earlier this year, she knew he would be the perfect person to swear her in.

“I remember him,” said Felton, who also graduated from Sanderson. “I think that says it all – and not in a bad way.”

Ridgeway said he was glad to have a chance to thank Felton for the role she played in his life.

“I know that it is is too infrequent that students express their thanks and appreciation to their teachers, but I am pleased to have that opportunity today,” he said.

Ridgeway also administered the oath for school board member Tom Benton, who taught social studies at Sanderson during the 1970s as well.

Benton was elected in October to eastern Wake’s District 1 seat, which he was appointed to fill earlier this year.

Monika Johnson-Hostler and Bill Fletcher also were sworn in as representatives for District 2 and District 9, respectively. Johnson-Hostler is new to the board, while Flectcher was appointed in March to fill a board vacancy and previously served three terms.

During the meeting that followed Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony, the board replaced chairman Keith Sutton with Christine Kushner by a vote of 7-2, a move that surprised many. The board elected Benton as vice-chairman.

Barr: 919-836-4952

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