GEORGE COUNTY, Miss. (WKRG) — The race for school board in George County’s District 1 has narrowed after a candidate withdrew Wednesday, Oct. 12.

Tanya Beech submitted a certificate of withdrawal to the circuit clerk’s office citing a potential conflict if she was elected as a board member.

Beech is the executive director of the Singing River Educational Association. The non-profit operates Head Start in the county, the federal preschool program for low-income families. 

Before qualifying as a candidate, Beech asked the Mississippi Ethics Commission to determine if there would be any conflict of interest. Head Start receives state grant funding that is distributed through the George County School District.

The ethics commission advised Wednesday that Beech would have to leave her position at Head Start to become a school board member, according to a letter announcing her withdrawal.

“As much as I would love to be a voice for our communities with the school district, I am very dedicated to the community, staff, parents, and students at Head Start,” Beech wrote. “I would like to thank each of you for your support and encourage you to vote for change within the school board.”

Beech has worked in education for 30 years. Before taking over the Head Start program, she most recently worked at GCSD as the federal programs and special education director.

District 1 voters will now decide between incumbent Jessie Ludgood and veterinarian Matthew Smith. Beech will still appear on the ballot but not be eligible for election.

On the ballot for the District 2 seat is Pascagoula-Gautier teacher and former GCSD administrator Maria Clanton, trucking company manager David Pritchett and retired teacher Margaret Tyrone. Incumbent Jake Green will not seek reelection.

The winner of the race will be the candidate with the most votes on Nov. 8, regardless if they receive a majority. There will be no run-off for the school board races.