Chatham School Board selects Julie Bridenstine to fill vacant seat

Pittsboro, NC – The Chatham County Board of Education members voted unanimously on Thursday,
October 6, 2022, to appoint Julie Bridenstine to fill the District 1 seat vacated when Melissa Hlavac resigned in September.

Julie Bridenstine during interview with Chatham County School Board – 10.6.22 (photo by Gene Galin)

“I am grateful for this opportunity to serve the students of Chatham County,” Bridenstine said following
the decision to appoint her. “I have a deep passion for education and it’s exciting to be part of shaping our district’s future, particularly at this very pivotal moment in time for our county as we face extraordinarily rapid growth and the challenges accompanying that. I look forward to working with the other board members as we continue to grow, improve and strengthen our district with educational pathways to serve all students.”

video by Gene Galin

Bridenstine will be officially sworn in at the board’s regularly scheduled meeting on October 10.

“The board wants to thank all of our candidates who interviewed. We had an outstanding group, and it
was a difficult decision,” said Board of Education Chairman Gary Leonard. “We very much look forward
to working with Ms. Bridenstine and the contributions she will make to benefit our students, families and

video by Gene Galin

Ms. Bridenstine received both her bachelor’s degree in molecular, cellular, developmental biology and
her law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law. She has worked as an attorney for more
than 15 years.

More than five of those years, she served as a public defender in Colorado, two years as a solo law
practitioner in Nebraska working on indigent defense and juvenile matters, six years investigating actual
innocence claims for the neutral, state-run agency NC Innocence Inquiry Commission, and now serves as
a post-conviction attorney at NC Prisoner Legal Services, representing incarcerated people.

“As the mother of two children enrolled at Chatham Grove Elementary School. I want Chatham County
Public Schools to continue to thrive and I want to be part of making that happen. I am interested in public service, and I think that contributing to the educational path of our future leaders is important work and
good for society.”

The District 1 school board seat will be up for election by Chatham voters in 2024.