Republican-led School Board Rehires Marxist-leaning Superintendent Foust

by | Aug 23, 2023 | News Analysis, Commentary and Opinion

(Above) Feature image from Dr. Charles Foust’s Facebook page.

This is part one of a three-part series on the all-pervasive Marxist indoctrination happening across New Hanover County schools. Read Part 2 and Part 3.

Newly Elected Republican-led NHCS Board of Ed Takes Stand with Pro-CRT Superintendent by Renewing His Employment Contract

In what can be best described as a huge middle-finger to commonsense New Hanover County parents, taxpayers, and educators, the Board of Education voted last week to retain Superintendent Dr. Charles Foust through 2027. Although the Republican-led board pointed to improved student achievement under Foust, the superintendent’s track record shows this decision does not align with the best interests of our children, parents and community.

The 6-1 vote to renew Foust’s contract as the NHC Superintendent of Schools raises serious concerns about the commitment Republican school board members have to removing Far Left indoctrination from our taxpayer funded schools. Foust’s leadership during and after COVID is beyond questionable, and the board’s reluctance to make the straight-forward decision to part ways demonstrates weakness and a lack of understanding of the problems in the education system.

Members Pete Wildeboer (Chair), Pat Bradford (Vice Chair), Josie Barnhart and Stephanie Kraybill, all Republicans, voted in the affirmative to extend Dr. Foust’s employment. The Democratic board members, Hugh McManus and Stephanie Walker, also voted in the affirmative. The only board member to vote against renewing Foust’s contract was Conservative Melissa Mason.

New Hanover County School Board

Why Was Melissa Mason the Sole Dissenting Voice?

Mason Stands for Integrity and Parental Rights

Melissa Mason, the only board member to cast a dissenting vote, has long been a vocal critic of Dr. Foust. In her detailed July 2022 blog post, she laid out a comprehensive case against him, alleging serious offenses, including:

  • Condoning the distribution of obscene materials to children (a Class 1 felony);
  • Embracing policies rooted in Marxist Critical Theory such as segregated woke workshops for students and teachers, and race-based hiring practices; and,
  • Violating parental rights by withholding information from parents, including the Gender Support Plan, course curriculums and obstructing parents’ access to materials in school libraries.

(Below) A screenshot of New Hanover County School district’s website overtly reveals a blatant violation of federal law concerning discriminatory hiring practices. It specifically states the district is focused on hiring and retaining “teachers of color.” This web page was posted under Foust’s leadership and continues to be available online.

NHCS New Hanover County Schools in violation of discriminatory hiring law

(Below) A 2022 photograph of a LGTBQ+ presentation for children at NHCS’s Trask Middle School on North College Road in Wilmington.

LGTBQ+ Grooming at Trask Middle in New Hanover County's School District.

New Hanover’s School District Under Foust is Where Woke Social Justice Thrives

During Foust’s tenure, the district aggressively disseminated Applied-CRT policies through Equity-driven training, reverse discrimination, and exclusion. Without the guidance or direction of the Board, Foust unilaterally created a new upper-level position, titled Chief Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer, after an “Equity Audit” was performed on the district by Leftist consulting group Sophic Solutions. This Woke position is the first ever of its kind in the school system and a dog whistle to Woke activists. In the following podcast, Dr. LaChawn Smith — the district’s first Equity officer, says her woke Equity work is a ‘moral imperative.’ Smith also describes an Equity plan which includes Implicit Bias Training for principals and teachers.

“We want to change the narrative in the community,” LaShawn Smith is quoted. “One of the things we’re trying to look at… is making sure that we have Equity in all of our opportunities for our students. So at the middle school, that might look like taking a high school course prior to getting to high school… At the high school level it might look like what do our numbers look like in terms of diversity in regards to our signature programs, or in our honors courses, courses that are offered at the community college,…”

(Below) In the following podcast the participants include NHCS Executive Director Allen O’Briant, cover the topic of New Hanover schools’ Equity training across the school district. At the 9:20min mark, the topic of discussion begins about engaging students with training on CRT and creating equity teams at high schools.

New Hanover School's plan on Equity and Diversity


Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Training

NHCS partnered with the Racial Equity Institute in Greensboro, NC to provide The Groundwater Approach, a racial equity training workshop. For this workshop, Smith invited over 100 educators to participate. NHCS also performed Phase I equity training for principals and planned to partner with other local leaders to disseminate equity training across New Hanover County.

(click image for document)

The Ground Water Approach

Mason’s Strong Argument to Terminate Foust is Compelling

In Mason’s blog, she articulated detailed reasons that were not just the frustrations of a dissatisfied mother of two, they were a call to action for accountability and transparency.

Mason’s two most significant arguments for firing Foust were his lack of leadership regarding the following:

  • Ending the abusive practice of putting children in solitary confinement; and,
  • Stopping the transgender indoctrination of children.

Institutionalized Child Abuse Under Foust’s Leadership

Foust’s administration encouraged the use of solitary confinement, known as “Seclusion Rooms”, with young children, and targeted children with disabilities. This type of solitary confinement was abused to such an extent across New Hanover schools that the district’s share of its use comprised about half of all instances in North Carolina.

The use of these isolation rooms is such a danger to children, they’re outlawed in many states. The U.S. Department of Education stated:

“…the use of restraint and seclusion can, in some cases, have very serious consequences, including, most tragically, death. There is no evidence that using restraint or seclusion is effective in reducing the occurrence of the problem behaviors that frequently precipitate the use of such techniques.”

Yet, when the public broached the subject with Superintendent Foust about the abuse of children in these rooms, he and Assistant Superintendent Julie Varnam defended the practice. Varnum even undertook a crisis management effort with a board presentation and a press presentation with WHQR at Forest Hills Elementary — the second most abusive school for employing this practice — on how Seclusion Rooms are used to discipline children in local schools.

In the end, a school board vote was required to curtail the use of Seclusion Rooms in New Hanover schools; all the while, Superintendent Foust advocated for the practice to continue.

Under Foust, Institutionalized Queer Marxist Indoctrination was Conducted in Secret

Queer Marxism: The political movement responsible for institutionalizing “Transgender” ideation and indoctrination. 

NHCS’s transgender indoctrination of children, both in the classroom and in private, completely undermined parental rights.

The school administration, under Foust’s direction, implemented the “Gender Support Plan” which allowed the schools, teachers, and administrators to reassign a child’s “gender,” while concealing it all from the parents. It wasn’t until after Mason shed light on the issue during the April 2022 board meeting, which garnered national media attention, that the school administration sought to justify the use of the Gender Support Plan.

The following video revealed how NHCS administrators discussed a gender support plan and their right to withhold medical information from parents — the point is discussed at the 10:27 mark.

Republican School Board Candidates’ Broken Campaign Promises

Were any campaign promises actually broken?

The 2022 election marked a turning point for New Hanover’s school board, as control shifted from a Democratic majority to a Republican-led board. Once the votes came in, Conservative voters were thrilled with the potential for the public school system to transition from a Marxist progressive indoctrination institution to an institution rooted in classic liberal education. However, the Republican majority’s decision to retain the superintendent, a proponent of Woke ideology, has justifiably raised concern.

So, what did the Republican candidates promise regarding the superintendent position or Woke policy during their campaigns?


Pat Bradford as Candidate

On Bradford’s campaign policy statement page from her website —which has been taken down— she leads her campaign promises with the following paragraph:

“I will not support any NHC school employee or elected official pushing implementation of CRT and/or sexual grooming curriculum for our students. I will work with our new board to eradicate CRT, SEL, EDI, etc. and all its derivatives from our school district, as well as the sexualization and grooming of students.”

Interestingly, the top three initiatives she listed as her very first priorities have yet to be brought up.

(click image to view Pat’s campaign page)

Candidate Pete Wildeboer

Little information is available about Wildeboer’s viewpoints during the 2022 election. His campaign website, comprised of a single page filled with generic statements, lacks distinction, and could apply to almost any candidate, regardless of party affiliation. Despite multiple interviews, Reuel Sample, NHCGOP spokesperson, never questioned Wildeboer on CRT in the classroom or Superintendent Foust. At the October 2022 school board candidate town hall, however, Wildeboer was questioned about the Wilmington Massacre and the 1619 curriculum. His response was unconvincing, merely asserting that schools should teach the truth and strive to provide the “best education we can by knowing our students.”

The following video presents Pete Wildeboer answering Brenna Flanagan’s questions covering specific aspects of Woke education in New Hanover Schools.

(click image to watch video)

Candidate Josie Barnhart

Barnhart, in a blog post titled, “The Fire Foust Formula,” played both sides of the issue stating:

“I will work with my fellow Board members to put Foust on notice and implement a correction plan that, if not addressed, will mean the search for new leadership.”

Then, during a radio interview with Nick Craig on Wilmington’s Morning News with Nick Craig, she said,

“I want to make it very clear; it would be my role as a board member to define what his leadership and accountability should look like. And so, I will be working with whoever else is in leadership to make the change for New Hanover County Schools that’s necessary, but I have no qualms about making a decision once I have all the information, including his removal if necessary.”

Based on the publicly available information about Foust, Barnhart has a minimal standard for accountability. Her vote to extend Foust’s contract implies that he must have satisfied her improvement plan, even though he maintains a Far-Left stance and most of his Woke policies continue to be in place, including the Chief Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer position — currently held by Malcolm Johnson. The question begs: what did this improvement plan actually look like for Foust?

The following audio is school board candidate Josie Barnhart responding to Nick Craig’s questions on Superintendent Foust during a 2022 election interview.

Candidate Josie Barnhart on terminating Superintendent Foust

by Nick Craig | Wilmington’s Morning News with Nick Craig

Voters Elected Republicans to Stop Bad Actors in New Hanover Schools

Mason’s compelling case against Foust should have been enough to stop the renewal of his contract. It baffles many in the community how the other board members could rationalize the further employment of someone who applies CRT and Equity and oversaw the mental torture of children in seclusion rooms and the secret gender transitioning of kids. A person who does such things is amoral and would not hesitate to undertake additional horrendous efforts in the future, all for the sake of furthering an agenda.

At a time when our education system needs strong, unifying, and transparent leadership, the decision to keep Dr. Foust was more than a blunder by Republicans on the board: it was an incomprehensible nightmare come true. The community, the parents, and most importantly, the students of New Hanover County deserve a board that prioritizes education over indoctrination. Four Republican board members have just shown, with their vote, to be in support of Marxist indoctrination, known as Applied CRT.

The Board’s decision to extend Superintendent Foust’s contract ranks as the worst action taken to date. Republican members who voted in favor of extending Superintendent Foust’s contract have not only exhibited behavior that doesn’t align with core Republican values, or even values of the community, it projects weakness when fighting a failing political movement that is toxic to our society. Their choice to keep a superintendent whose history does not align with the welfare and safety of children has shown these Republican board members are misaligned and undependable as elected officials. The GOP should rebuke these officials.

  • This article mentions Brenna Flanagan’s participation in the 2022 school board candidate town hall. The misspelling of her last name has been corrected.

We are committed to correcting factual errors and welcome your input if you identify a mistake.

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  1. Excellent article! I hope the connection between the conclusions of this articles and the need to use the primaries to bring in actual conservatives in the next cycle will be made in the following installments. Keep up the good work!

  2. Wow…looks like the NHC School Board let us down, Big Time. What a shame. Makes me sick…we are up the creek.

  3. My name is spelled incorrectly in this article. My byline can easily be found on the Port City Daily website for reference.

  4. Absolutely shocking that this radical ideology of directing our students into an education full of crt, isolated rooms for behavioral issues
    inappropriate books in school libraries full of pornographic material is still going on. Where has our education gone that even highschoolers are at an elementary reading level. Now a refuge center for illegals? Send this Marxist superintendent packing. Our taxes should not be paying for this insanity


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