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La Grange pastor chosen to fill school board vacancy

La Grange pastor and community volunteer John Wiggins was chosen to fill the District 2 vacancy on the Lenoir County Board of Education on Tuesday night.

 Man in glasses and blue golf shirt poses outside.Wiggins will occupy the seat vacated in December by Keith King, who resigned to accept an appointment to the Lenoir County Board of Commissioners. Wiggins will take his place on the school board at its Feb. 5 meeting, following his swearing in.

Pastor of La Grange First Missionary Baptist Church, Wiggins and Steve Roman, a regional coordinator of the Triple P agency that promotes sound parenting practices, sought the appointment and qualified under state law as a replacement for King – that is, as a registered Republican who lives in the district. After interviewing each candidate as its Jan. 8 meeting, the school board voted 4-2 by secret ballot at Tuesday’s special called meeting to choose Wiggins.

“This is an opportunity to serve my community,” Wiggins said Wednesday. “I’ve worked for years supporting the youth in our community and taking part in different activities, from coaching to tutoring to providing food for children on the weekends. When this position came available, I just felt like I needed to step up and offer to assist.”

A La Grange native, Wiggins is an Air Force veteran who worked in law enforcement for 25 years, first with the Goldsboro Police Department and later as an instructor at the North Carolina Justice Academy, a state-operated training facility for criminal justice personnel. Called to the ministry, he earned a master of divinity degree from Campbell University and has served La Grange First Missionary Baptist Church about eight years.

The church has long been a partner with La Grange Elementary School in a backpack buddies program that provides food items to bridge the weekend meal gap for students who need assistance. It also assists with the school’s Christmas charity program.

“My focus is probably about the same as everyone else. Of course, I want to help the children,” Wiggins said as he looked ahead to his time on the school board. “I also want to help the teachers because they have such a difficult job. They have a lot of demands placed upon them. I want to help them as much as possible to spend their time teaching in the classroom rather than being tied up with things that don’t involve teaching.”

As an appointed position, the District 2 seat on the school board is required by state law to be on the ballot for the November election.