Retired former state legislator and former Alamance County commissioner chairman Dan Ingle, a Republican, announced this week that he will run for one of three seats on the nonpartisan Alamance-Burlington school board that will be available in the November general election.
Filing for the 2022 races, which had been suspended since December due to ongoing litigation over the state’s redistricting maps, is scheduled to reopen today, according to Alamance County’s Board of Elections.
“I feel like I can offer a lot of experience, getting us back to where we need to be,” Ingle says, referring to the effects that the pandemic has had on ABSS students.
The father of four, grandfather of 10, and great-grandfather of two has firsthand knowledge of the challenges that ABSS students have faced since the pandemic began in March 2020.
Two of his and wife Debbie Ingle’s four grown daughters, Candace and Amanda, are ABSS elementary school teachers, as is a son-in-law, Ingle told The Alamance News this week.
Ingle, who retired from a 40-year career in law enforcement in 2012, says his concerns about school safety also influenced his decision to run for a seat on the school board this year. “I know [security] cameras are going in” at a lot of ABSS schools, Ingle says, but says he would advocate for more training to prepare teachers and staff for the unthinkable.
“Unfortunately, we live in a society that’s not what it was when I was a boy,” says Ingle, 69.
Ingle says he also believes he can be a strong voice for the community and ABSS staff. “I want to be a person on the school board who’s accessible to parents,” he elaborates. “I want to ensure that the good teachers we have in the county, we make every effort to keep them.”
Ingle points to the ongoing statewide and nationwide teacher shortage and declining teacher retention rates as two areas where he believes he can have a positive influence. He says he also wants to look at intangible things, such as the working environment in ABSS schools, as well as boosting collaboration between school athletic departments and local recreation leagues.
Among his proudest moments – in addition to raising his extensive family with his wife of 42 years – was as the assistant girls’ basketball coach at Hawfields Middle School, which recently finished the 2021-22 season at 10-4, and coaching the girls’ softball team at Hawfields in the All-Stars championship games in 2021. “If I hadn’t gone in law enforcement, I would’ve become a coach,” says Ingle, who has coached Little League baseball and youth basketball and softball since 1972.
A retired former police chief for the town of Elon, Ingle was later appointed to replace Republican Cary Allred in the state house in 2009 before winning a two-year term in the house in 2010. He also served on the county’s board of commissioners from 2004 until 2009 and from 2014 until his resignation on April 1, 2016.
Then 64, Ingle subsequently attributed his resignation from the commissioner board – and his subsequent resignation from 36 appointed boards, including Alamance Community College’s board of trustees, which then-Gov. Pat McCrory, also a Republican, had appointed him in 2013 – to health concerns.
Now six years later and 50 pounds lighter, Ingle says he’s ready to return to public service. “I feel like I can bring a voice for parents and families and working closely, in harmony – including [with our] county commissioners, county manager, and state [legislators],” he explains. “I have a voice that I think will be helpful.”
Most recently, Ingle, a two-time recipient of the state’s highest civilian honor, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, served as a member of the county’s board of elections. He submitted his letter of resignation Monday morning, in keeping with a state law that prohibits elections board members from holding elective office.
Ingle is continuing to serve on two appointed boards: the North Central Alamance Fire Department, which serves the Union Ridge community where he and his wife live in the northwestern part of the county; and the board of directors for the Alamance Farmers Mutual insurance company.
Prior to the passage of the $150 million bond package for ABSS in 2018, Ingle gave 27 presentations to nonprofit organizations in Alamance County to educate voters about the projects that the bond proceeds would fund, he says.
Nonpartisan school board should ‘stay out of politics’
If elected to the school board, Ingle believes his philosophy governing would serve as a counter-weight to the trend toward politicizing public education. “We pretty much need to stay out of politics,” he explains. “We need to focus on the kids and what we need to do to enhance the education of our children in Alamance County.”
Ingle believes athletics can play a critical role in students’ physical, intellectual, and social development, as serve as a bridge to students who might not be fully engaged in the classroom. “We’ve got a lot of kids here that might have athletic ability but don’t have the resources to play travel ball,” he explains. “I would rather see a kid going to college than to prison. I hope to be a spokesman on that board for athletics [and increased coordination] with athletic leagues – that’s a vision I have, one of the things I’d love to see.”
He acknowledges that Covid-19 “is going to be with us” indefinitely but says he schools should return to normal as much as possible and that decisions about how to mitigate the virus should be left to the individual.
While Ingle voluntarily discloses that he’s been vaccinated against Covid-19, he says he opposes vaccine mandates. “It was because I was out and around others, but it should be a personal choice whether [students] get shots or wear a mask,” he says.
Ingle earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1998 from then-Elon College (now Elon University). He also holds multiple law enforcement certifications and in government from the North Carolina Criminal Justice and Standards Commission and from School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In addition to being a retired police chief, Ingle previously worked as an adjunct faculty member at ACC, where he taught criminal law, constitutional law, and criminal justice classes in the late 1990s.
In his spare time, he is an active member of First Baptist Church of Whitsett and enjoys tending his vegetable garden on 31 acres in Elon.
Ingle lives with his wife Debbie Long Ingle at 6388 Rascoe Road in Burlington.