The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board tonight appointed Kimberly Mitchell-Walker to fill the District 2 seat left vacant by longtime board member Vilma Leake.

The appointment was effective immediately.

With Mitchell-Walker’s appointment, the board again has two African Americans. The other is James Ross, a Republican appointed to the District 3 seat last month to replace George Dunlap.

The board now has four Democrats, four Republicans and one independent, the first time in years that Democrats have not held a majority.

Mitchell-Walker, a Democrat, is the sister of Charlotte City Councilman James Mitchell. She was one of 17 people who formally sought the appointment. In a 5-3 vote, she beat out Republican Deborah Ware.

Ross, whose vote could emerge as decisive on the fractious board, joined three Democrats in voting to appoint Mitchell-Walker.

Moments after her appointment, Mitchell-Walker then helped elect longtime board member Molly Griffin as board chair. In a 6-3 vote, Griffin defeated Republican Kaye McGarry, who will serve as vice chair.

Mitchell-Walker, 40, was senior administrative secretary at Plaza Road Pre-K. She resigned her position during the Board meeting.

She graduated from West Charlotte High School and attended North Carolina Central University. Her previous involvement with CMS included serving as PTA president, working with Junior Achievement and being a mentor.

Leake served 11 years on the school board before being elected in November to the Mecklenburg County commission.

Mitchell-Walker will serve the balance of Leake’s term, which ends in December.

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