Craven County School Board Member Beatrice Riggs Smith was selected by the Craven County Board of Commissioners to fill the District 3 seat held by the late Johnnie Sampson, Jr., who died of COVID-19-related pneumonia on Nov. 5, 2020. 

Smith, who was the first black female to hold a principalship in the integrated Craven County Schools system, is the first black female Craven County Commissioner.

Smith was selected at the Dec. 14, 2020 Board of Commissioners work session and will be sworn in at the regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

“Mrs. Smith brings a wealth of knowledge, as a member of the Craven County Board of Education since 2002, to the Craven County Board of Commissioners, her ability to listen to people and her love for Craven County makes her a great choice to serve as a County Commissioner,” stated Jason R. Jones, Chairman of the Craven County Board of Commissioners.

Beatrice Smith will bring insights about Craven County Schools to the Board of Commissioners, which has often found itself at odds with their counterparts on the school board.

Smith is a native of Craven County and served four terms as a member of the Craven County Board of Education since her election in November 2002.

Smith retired as the principal at Graham A. Barden Elementary in 1997, completing a 33 year career with the Craven County School System where she spent 11 years teaching, 5 years as a director of the Every Student Succeeds Act Title I Reading Program for Craven County, and 17 years as a principal. 

She also serves as a deaconess of St. Peter’s A.M.E. Zion Church.

School Board Chairman Frances Boomer released a statement about Smith’s appointment to the Board of Commissioners.

“I have had the privilege, joy, and opportunity of knowing Mrs. Beatrice Smith for many years,” Boomer said. “She is one of the first educators I had the honor of working with when I began my journey as a professional educator. Mrs. Smith has impacted my life in so many positive ways. As a board member, I have seen Mrs. Smith’s compassion for doing what is right for others, especially the children of Craven County Schools. This service will transcend to all citizens of Craven County. Her love for people is the driving force that motivates her to be a true servant leader. We are excited to see Mrs. Beatrice Smith serve the children of Craven County Schools in a different capacity. We look forward to the continued strong relationship that the Board of Education enjoys with the Board of County Commissioners. Our boards have demonstrated what is possible with true partnership and cooperation. This is yet another opportunity to strengthen our work for children and the citizens of Craven County together.”

The Post has asked for a list of other people who applied for the vacancy left by Commissioner Sampson’s death.

This article will be updated once that information is released.

“I believe all the individuals who have shown an interest in this open seat are qualified and I believe they all have a desire to serve their fellow man. One characteristic that stood out for Mrs. Smith is that she loves people.  It was not just serving people but she loved people. That is the greatest qualification a public servant can have and must have,” Jones said.


  1. I have known Mrs. Smith for quite some time now. She is indeed a people person. I believe that she will a spokesperson for the people!!! Being the daughter of the late Commissioner Johnnie Sampson. Jr., my only advice to her is to allow God to guide her in all of her decisions as she always has!!! Congratulations Mrs. Smith!!!💜💜💜

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.