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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -– Former New Hanover County Manager Bruce Shell says he will run for a seat on the New Hanover County School Board.

“I’m retired now. I have the time and wanted to give something back to the community,” Shell told WWAY in a phone interview this morning. “I believe there is probably no greater influence on a future than through education.”

Shell served as county manager from November 2005 until June 2012. He also worked as Finance Director for the county for 11 years and as interim town manager for Carolina Beach, but says he has always had a passion for education.

Shell says his experience with the county government putting 25 budgets together will be beneficial to the board if elected.

“I am a common sense, do what’s right kind of person,” Shell said. “I understand funding, and I understand what an organization needs to do. I believe anything you can do to improve morale and increase and gain momentum in the quality of education is going to help children learn better.”

Shell says he does not have any preconceived notions of any problems in the county’s education system right now, but he said there is always room for improvement. Something he says he is not keen on, however, is the state requirement that school districts must select 25 percent of teachers to get multi-year contracts and higher pay while giving up their tenure, which the state is phasing out.

“It is not my decision to make,” Shell said. “I would certainly, if it was passed down, I would certainly be a part of trying to make it as positive as possible. I had 1,600, 1,700 employees when I was with New Hanover County, and I can assure you more than 25 percent of those people contributed in a great way.”

Shell said he is in Boone on vacation, but a friend will file the paperwork for his candidacy today.

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