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story.lead_photo.caption Delivery driver Ralph Nelson pushes a vote-counting scanner into a truck at the Pulaski County Election Commission warehouse in Little Rock in this Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, file photo. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

Three people filed Thursday with the Pulaski Circuit/County Clerk's office for election to seats on what will be a reestablished Little Rock School Board with nine positions.

Additionally, Angela Person West filed Thursday for election to the North Little Rock School Board's Zone 4 seat.

The new candidates for Little Rock seats join five others who have previously filed. The new candidates are:

• Zone 2 -- Sandrekkia Morning

• Zone 5 -- Ali Noland

• Zone 9 -- Kieng "Bao" Vang-Dings

Morning, whose petition was still being verified late Thursday, is the first to file as a candidate from Zone 2, which encompasses southeast Little Rock.

Morning is an arts-in-education program manager for the Arkansas Arts Council. She is a 2012 graduate of eStem Charter High School and the University of Central Arkansas, where she earned a bachelor's degree in business administration/insurance and risk management. She is single.

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Noland, who is an attorney and a parent advocate, is the first to file from Zone 5, which encompasses north Central Little Rock, including the Hillcrest and Heights neighborhoods.

Noland led efforts in the 2019 legislative session to require more recess time for elementary pupils. More recently, she has been a frequent speaker at Arkansas Board of Education meetings in support of returning the state-controlled district to local governance and at Community Advisory Board meetings. She served on Mayor Frank Scott's transition team for education and is on the boards for Pulaski County Imagination Library and Volunteers in Public Schools. She is also a tutor and mentor at Wakefield Elementary.

Noland and her husband, Ross, also an attorney, have two young children in the district.

Vang-Dings, the mother of two students in the district, has filed for election to the Zone 9 position representing the northwest corner of the district, a position also being sought by Jeff Wood, who filed earlier.

She is an immunology researcher as an assistant research professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's Center for Integrative Nanotechnology Sciences. Her experience includes work in science education and curriculum design at the kindergarten-through-12th grade and post-secondary education levels.

Vang-Dings immigrated to the United States from Laos when she was 5 and went on to earn a doctorate from the University of Minnesota.

Little Rock School Board terms are three years, but that could be changed by the School Board once it is elected, said Kimberly Mundell of the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The school district has been operating without an elected board since January 2015, when the state Board of Education took control because six of the district's then 48 schools were classified as academically distressed for chronically low student test scores.

The state board late last year voted to return the district -- with limitations -- to the governance of a nine-member elected board.

In North Little Rock, West is running for the seat now held by Lizbeth Huggins, who was appointed to fill an opening created by a resignation within the past year.

West is a freelance marketing representative. She is a 1993 graduate of Joe T. Robinson High School in the neighboring Pulaski County Special School District and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where she earned a degree in interdisciplinary studies.

West is the mother of two graduates of the North Little Rock School District.

People who desire to be candidates for seats in any of the Little Rock, North Little Rock and Pulaski County Special school districts are required to submit a petition, a political practices pledge and an affidavit of eligibility with the county clerk.

The filing period runs through noon Monday. The remaining hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Monday morning. Filing takes place at the Pulaski County Courthouse, 401 West Markham St. in Little Rock. Candidates must use the Spring Street entrance for access to the building.

Early voting begins Oct. 19. The election is Nov. 3.

School board positions are unpaid.


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