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Frances Berry Resigns From School Board

Clarke County Board of Education member Frances Berry resigned Friday after just nine months on the school board.

Berry was appointed in February to serve out the remainder of Vernon Payne’s term representing District 2, in the northeastern part of the county. Payne resigned in December for health reasons.

In response to a call seeking comment, Berry emailed a brief statement to Flagpole: “I joined the board hoping I could help make a difference, but I learned this year that I am not cut out for the stress of politics. I resigned in order to focus on my health and my family.”

She is the third person to resign from the school board in less than a year. In addition to Payne, District 4 representative Jared Bybee resigned in May because he moved to California. Bybee was replaced by Patricia Yager, a UGA marine science professor.

Berry is a photographer and business manager at the Southern Historical Association who has been involved in the community for years, including serving with the Federation of Neighborhoods, Chicopee-Dudley neighborhood association, ACC Democratic Commitee and the SPLOST 2020 committee, and running Patrick Davenport’s campaign for county commissioner. When she applied to serve on the school board, she said her goal was to help close the achievement gap between white and black students. She joined the board at a tumultuous time marked by quarrels among board members and between the board and Superintendent Demond Means.

The remaining eight members of the board will choose a replacement for Berry, whose term runs through the end of 2020. The school district will announce dates and requirements for the application process at a later time, according to communications manager Beth Moore.