UPDATE: Jennifer Moore released a statement on Wednesday, April 24 addressing her resignation and controversy around a doctorate she at one point claimed to have.

In a statement first shared with the News of Orange County newspaper, the former Orange County school board member said she resigned over health concerns and will not serve another four-year term if elected in the ongoing runoff election against Bonnie Hauser. Moore thanked the Orange County community for its support and described serving on the school board as “a pleasure.”

But Moore also addressed the fact she does not hold a Ph.D., saying she takes responsibility “for not clarifying” she did not have one — which came to light through the News & Observer’s report on April 19.

Here is the full statement from Moore, courtesy of the News of Orange:

Dear Orange County Community,

Serving on the Orange County Board of Education was an honor to me. During this time, my colleagues were aware that I have battled several serious health issues that have increased in severity over time. My medical issues have taken a severe toll on my physical health, and I am currently undergoing medical treatment.

If the official votes by the Orange County Board of Elections reflect a secured seat in my name, I would like to let you know that I will not be returning to The Orange County Board of Education seat for the upcoming four-year term. Due to ongoing health concerns, I have decided not to continue my service.

I understand the significance of the swearing-in ceremony and regret that I will not be attending. The Orange County Board of Education members will go through the process of appointing someone to the seat to serve the 4-year term.

Lastly, I accept responsibility for not clarifying that I do not have a Ph.D.

Below is Chapelboro’s original story, published on Friday, April 19.

According to a report from The News & Observer, Orange County Schools Board of Education member Jennifer Moore submitted her resignation from her role on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the Orange County Schools district confirmed the submission of resignation to Chapelboro on Friday. The school board will need to formally accept’s Moore’s resignation, which is expected to happen during its upcoming meeting scheduled for Monday night.

The move comes less than a month before Moore is supposed to defend her school board seat in a run-off election with Bonnie Hauser, a fellow incumbent who placed fourth in the three-seat primary on March 5. Moore and Hauser were originally elected to the board in 2020.

Moore was also reportedly facing questions about her doctoral degree from Bellevue University. Neither Bellevue University in Nebraska nor Bellevue College in Washington state have a record of Moore attending or earning a doctorate, according to the News & Observer’s report.

“I know this was a hard decision for her, and I respect her decision, and I’m very sorry that she feels she has to resign,” board chair Anne Purcell told the News & Observer. “I appreciate the time that I have served on the board with her, and I appreciate her service to Orange County Schools.”

Moore’s resignation will not have an effect on the election, which is scheduled for May 14. Absentee ballots have already been sent out, and early voting begins on Thursday, April 25.

“The election is underway, and any votes cast for either candidate will be tabulated and reported,” said Orange County Elections Director Rachel Raper in an email. “Vacancies on the Orange County School Board are filled by appointment by the remaining members of the School Board; there is no special election.

“Even if a candidate resigned from their current term, that resignation would not affect the May 14 election, as this election is for a new term.”

The run-off election was scheduled after Moore finished less than 500 votes ahead of Hauser in the March 5 primary. Hauser submitted a request for a run-off eight days later.

“Serving the students, staff, and families of Orange County schools has been one of the greatest honors of my life,” Moore said at the time. “I look forward to continuing to make progress improving our schools by nurturing academic excellence, making sure our educators and staff have fair and competitive compensation to have a stable workforce, and providing an environment where all have the opportunity to thrive.”

Featured image via Moore for Orange County School Board

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