So far, Hatteras seat is the only contested race for school board
By IRENE NOLAN
only two days remaining to file to run in the March 15 primary
election, the only contested seat for the Board of Education is the
District 4 seat, which includes all of Hatteras Island.
Two candidates have filed with the Board of
Elections for the District 4 seat as of Thursday, Dec. 17. The filing
period ends Monday, Dec. 21.
Carlos A. Babilonia of Buxton will run against
Mary Ellon Ballance of Hatteras village in the non-partisan election to
fill the seat currently held by Danny Couch of Buxton, who has decided
to run for the Dare County Board of Commissioners seat being vacated by
“I have been interested in serving on the Board
of Education for District 4 for several years. Timing is very
important and I feel like it is now my time.” said Ballance.
Ballance, a 19-year resident of Hatteras Island,
is married to Todd Ballance, a commercial fisherman and chief of the
Hatteras Volunteer Fire Department.
“Community involvement is very important to
myself and my family. Both my husband and I are dedicated to
making a difference in this place we call home.”
Ballance currently serves as president of the
Cape Hatteras Booster Club, is the Hatteras Community Fish Fry
Coordinator, Fessenden Center Advisory Board member, and president of
the HVFD Ladies Fire Auxiliary.
When it comes to education, Ballance has this to say; “In my service on
several advisory boards I have learned that there is the business of
education and the process of education. Bringing those two things
together in order to meet the needs of the students, teachers, and
administration is the challenge.”
Ballance has owned her own business in
Hatteras village for 18 years and holds an A.A. degree in business
management from Harford Community College in Bel Air, Md. She
lives in Hatteras village with her husband and their son, Wheeler, a
freshman at Cape Hatteras Secondary School of Coastal Studies.
Ballance says her goal, given an opportunity to serve on the board, is
"to foster relationships among the community and elected officials."
“There needs to be a strong relationship between the Board of
Commissioners, the Board of Education, and the students, faculty, and
administration of all Dare County schools," she said. "Communication is
key to allowing us to bring awareness and understanding of the issues
facing our school system so that we can solve them efficiently and
Babilonia is retired from the U.S. Coast Guard and
is currently manager of maintenance for Hatteras Realty. He has served
on the Board of Education's Parent-Teacher Advisory Committee since
2011. His duties have included serving as the Partnership in Education
coordinator, supervising advocacy programs, instructional support and
enrichment programs established to expand academic and vocational opportunities for Dare County students.
“Volunteering in Dare County Schools has given me
the opportunity to interact with people and personnel in all schools in
our district,” Babilonia said. “ I have established relationships with
administrators and teachers that will aid the Board of Education in
preparing our students for their futures.”
Babilonia also serves as a referee and athletics consultant for Dare
County Parks and Recreation. He is an Eagle Scout (Boys Scouts of
America) and 1994 honors graduate and Medal of Loyalty recipient of the
American Military Academy. His U.S. Coast Guard career provided
extensive training in federal law enforcement with high-level security
clearances and technical and cyber/computer skills.
He and his wife, Rosalie (“Salie”), are the parents of three students
in Cape Hatteras schools -- Carlos Jr. a high school senior, Enrique, a
sophomore, and Calia, who is a seventh grader.
“We have tremendous academic and vocational resources available to us
in Dare County, including our Latino/Hispanic community,” Babilonia
said. "I’m fully bilingual in English and Spanish, and one of my goals
is to accentuate and develop the relationships we have among all Dare
Babilonia adds that Dare County Schools should continue to nurture
children from all cultural and social backgrounds in pursuit of "the
mission and vision to educate every child" so that all students will
graduate on time and be prepared for college, careers and life.
The District 4 contest is thus far the only Board of Education race in
which voters will have a choice on March 15. To date, no one has filed
to challenge incumbent Chairman Ben Sproul or Vice-Chairman Bea
Basnight. And former Dare Schools Transportation Director David Twiddy
is unopposed in his bid to fill the seat of former board member David
Oaksmith, who died in early November.