RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Wake County School Board member who died unexpectedly this week is being remembered as a lifelong educator who had a passion for the classroom.
Zora Felton was 65 years old when she was found dead in her Raleigh home Wednesday.
“We were all in complete and total shock,” said Tom Benton, chair of the Wake School Board.
Felton’s passing is still resonating with fellow board members as they remember her selfless service through the years.
“Her children and grandchildren came first, but then she had devoted the rest of her life to serving the students of Wake County public schools,” Benton said.
Felton joined the board in 2013 after teaching in Wake County for a total of 25 years.
District officials said she provided a voice from the classroom in all the board’s decisions.
“That was her contribution, that was her gift, that was her lens and it is the lens we need to view our decisions and conversations through,” said Cathy Moore, deputy superintendent of Wake Schools.
Felton called out of Tuesday’s board meeting with a headache.
She was then supposed to join the board on Wednesday but was found unresponsive when her family went to check on her.
Fellow board members said Felton was someone who dedicated her whole career to improving the wake county school system.
“That was Zora – passionate about teachers, passionate about teaching, passionate about relationships with students,” said Jim Martin, District 5, Wake County School Board.
And now the board will move forward, honoring and living out what she said the last time they saw her on Monday.
“She said, ‘I’m here for another two years and you’re going to hear me over and over arguing that we’ve got to give teachers more time for planning and thinking about their teaching. That’s the legacy we must continue,’” said Martin.
The board will appoint a replacement for Felton after taking applications from those living in her district – which includes northwest Raleigh, Morrisville and parts of Cary.