Breen takes District 7 school board seat

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Rhyan Breen has won the District 7 seat on the Wilson County Board of Education.

Breen ended up on top with 1,796 votes, or 41.73 percent, in a three-way contest for the open seat.

Coming in a close second was Wayne Willingham with 1,518 votes, or 35.27 percent. Stephanie Cyrus was third with 968 votes, or 22.49 percent of the vote.

All three were political newcomers and all three have children in Wilson County Schools.

Breen said he was “over the moon” over the result.

“I’m very excited,” Breen said. “I look forward to getting to work for the people of Wilson County. This was the easy part. The hard part is going to make sure my district is adequately represented on the Wilson County school board.”

Breen said he was thankful for everyone who came out to support his campaign.

“I am ready to get to work,” Breen said. “I think the key was having multiple events and having the opportunity to sit down and have meaningful conversations with the teachers, students and the parents of Wilson County.”

Breen, 32, graduated from Hunt High School, earned a bachelor’s in political science from Methodist University and a law degree from North Carolina Central University. Breen has been an attorney with Farris & Farris for eight years.

Willingham was conciliatory.

“Wilson voted and they decided that they wanted Breen for Board of Education and for District 7,” Willingham said. “I think the community will continue to see me active. I want to make sure the people of the community hold their representatives accountable.”

Willingham said trying for political office again is not out of the question.

“My wife and I are going to sit down and discuss it and we will make a decision on what the next step for political aspirations will be,” Willingham said. “I think we did everything we needed to do to get the people aware of District 7 issues. There are no regrets. My wife and family, we pushed hard and worked hard.”

Cyrus said Breen will be a good person to look out for the issues in the district.

“I feel like District 7 will be well represented,” Cyrus said. “Both of the other candidates are solid candidates.”

Cyrus offered congratulations to the winner and said she plans to remain involved.

“My goal is to still attend board meetings,” Cyrus said. “Out of the last 22 board meetings I have been to all but three. I will continue to fight for Spanish immersion and programs that are innovative and programs that support children. Win, lose or draw, I am not going anywhere. I feel like I have been a champion for children my entire career and I will continue to do that. I will continue to fight the good fight.”

Debora Powell ran unopposed for the Wilson County Board of Education District 1. Powell garnered 2,519 votes. There were 85 write-ins for District 1.

Christine Fitch ran unopposed for the school board’s District 3 seat. Fitch had 2,468 votes. There were 86 write-in votes.

Beverly Boyette ran unopposed for the District 5 school board seat and garnered 3,311 votes. There were 124 write-ins.